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iir, that’s true! Ever since I enrolled for special 
training with the International Correspondence Schools, 
I’ve been ‘in a class by myself.’ Because every I. C. S. 
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Contents for May, 1942, Vol. XXIX, No. 3 

John W. Campbell, Jr., Editor, Catherine Tarrant,- Asst. Editor 


ASYLUM A. E. van Vogt . . 8 

"Among the thousands of stars, in the ages of time, somewhere, 
some race must have developed interstellar travel. Why haven't 
they visited us?” Maybe the answer is — 

FOUNDATION Isaac Asimov ... 38 

A hundred thousand men and women — scientists, they believed 
themselves — worked on a project. The project they thought they 
worked on was a fraud; the one they had really been assigned to — 

THE PUSH OF A FINGER Alfred Bester ... 108 

The destruction of the universe could come about because of a 
very inconsequential thing — if it were misunderstood by the 
right man — 

Short Story 

FOREVER IS NOT SO LONG F. Anton Reeds . . 34 

If the much-sought knowledge of the future were attained — how 
many could get from it the full flavor of what happiness it 


BEYOND THIS HORIZON— Anson MacDonald . 55 

Second of two parts 

Concluding a picture of a world where bejcweled and lace- 
trimmed men with scented and painted nails were hard, light- 
ning-fast gunmen at the slightest insult— 


THE BIRTH OF A SUPERSTITION .... Willy Ley ... . 98 

Everybody now knows that the ancient Greeks could not see 
blue, as modern man can. That “knowledge” came about in a 
queer sort of way, and happens to be cockeyed! 

Readers’ Departments 



An Analysis of Readers’ Opinions. 


Department of Prophecy and Future Issues. 



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The fact that fuel oil is rather handy stuff to 
have around if you want naval vessels to operate, 
and that gasoline — preferably one-hundred-plus 
octane gasoline — is more than desirable if you 
want planes to stay aloft is fairly obvious. But 
the men who cooked up that slogan “Oil is am- 
munition” may well have been thinking of it in a 
less known, but more literal sense. 

In the last war, the Allies were hard pressed for 
adequate supplies of toluene, the essential basis 
for the manufacture of trinitrotoluene, and for the 
long list of benzene-type compounds that formed 
the starting point of munitions manufacture. Picric 
acid, the high explosive with the curious history 
of having been used for more than a century as a 
yellow dye before anybody even knew it would 
explode, depends on benzene-ring raw materials. 
In 1917-18, the only commercial source of the 
quantities needed was the destructive distillation 
of coal — coal-tar products, they were, and badly 
needed ones. There simply wasn’t enough, stretch 
the production as we would. 

This time the whole story is different. The 
petroleum chemists have had a quarter of a cen- 
tury to study their profession, to develop methods, 
and to work out production techniques. Germans 
have long been famed as chemists; they have a 
tremendous reputation. Unfortunately for Herr 
Schickelgruber, reputations do not impress chemi- 
cal molecules. In human affairs, a big reputation 
can hang on after the justification is gone, or after 
it has been reduced in scope to a very narrow 
specialization. The German chemists are still 
pretty good at making fancy dyestuffs. But no- 
body, anywhere, can begin to compete with Ameri- 
can petroleum chemists. American general chem- 
istry has not quite the same degree of lead — 
America had more petroleum business to support 
chemists than all the rest of the world combined — 
but in nearly all fields we have a definite lead. 

But those petroleum chemists have left all others 
sweating far behind. They're the men that worked 
out the techniques of splitting the big, heavy oil 
molecules down into little chips, swirling the chips 
around a bit, and then sticking them back together 
in new and far more useful ways. They invented 
the techniques that make one-hundred-octane gaso- 
line a commercial product. They’ve taken the 
broken chips and reassembled them into every- 
thing from synthetic rubber to synthetic plastics 
to pure foodstuffs. (Commercial citric acid, the 
stock-in-trade of church picnics and circus lem- 
onade, it being the flavor-acid of lemons, is made 
by a trick oxidation of a petroleum product. They 

can make a high-grade vinegar by another oxida- 
tion of another petroleum fraction. They can, 
and have, produced a nourishing salad oil — not the 
non-fattening, mineral-oil kind, but a decidedly 
fattening type. They can, and have, produced 
trick fats not found in nature that diabetic pa- 
tients can eat more safely.) 

But they have also produced, and are producing, 
toluene, benzene, the whole benzene family and its 
oxidation products by special cracking-and- 
reassembling processes worked on petroleum 
molecules. There’s no visible limit to the supply 
of toluene for TNT this time. 

Last time, too, they had a lot of trouble with 
the supply of solvents necessary for TNT produc- 
tion. TNT is physically rather similar to a syn- 
thetic plastic; it’s molded and handled in sol- 
vents. Our chemists in 1917-18 developed a fer- 
mentation process that produced acetone and butyl 
alcohol from corn. (The huge supplies of those 
solvents left after the war led directly to the 
production of today’s lacquers and indirectly to a 
greater use and production of plastics.) That 
trick helped a lot, though it cut into corn-hog 

But the petroleum chemist just needs to change 
the valves on the big cracking plants, readjust his 
catalysts and his temperatures, and presto! in- 
stead of automobile gasoline, out come acetone, 
or heavy alcohols. All the research has been done 
during those twenty-five years; it just needs a 
change-over of production. 

Plasticizers that make the synthetic plastics 
mold smoothly come from petroleum now, reliev- 
ing the pressure on the supply of coal tar. Coal 
tar is produced by cokeing coal; the coal is pro- 
duced by mining, and the miners that do that job 
need experience and training. You can't just say 
“Ten times as much coal tar this month, please,” 
and get it. But oil production can be increased by 
simply letting the wells flow a bit faster. 

You can’t cut the coal consumption of vital in- 
dustries very much; iron and copper and power for 
aluminum and magnesium and to turn the lathes 
must be maintained and increased, not cut down. 
But the automobiles that, in their millions, drank 
gasoline in rivers can be eased up appreciably. 

Those millions, by the way, mount up. If twenty 
million automobiles save one gallon per month 
apiece, that’s two hundred forty million gallons 
a year. And that, properly converted to toluene 
in the tri-nitro form, would be an excellent sort 
of medicine to cure the totalitarian tinge of parts 
of this planet. 

The Editor. 

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By A. E. van Vogt 

• Wherein is presented a lovely notion— that 
we live on a reservation, watched over 
by morons, since meeting normal members 
of the Watcher's race would he fatal— 

Illustrated by Schneeman 


Indecision was dark in the man’s thoughts as he 
walked across the spaceship control room to the 
cot where the woman lay so taut and so still. He 
bent over her; he said in his deep voice: 

“We’re slowing down, Merla.” 

No answer, no movement, not a quiver in her 
delicate, abnormally blanched cheeks. Her fine 
nostrils dilated ever so slightly with each measured 
breath. That was all. 

The Dreegh lifted her arm, then let it go. It 
dropped to her lap like a piece of lifeless wood, 
and her body remained rigid and unnatural. Care- 


fully, he put his fingers to one eye, raised the lid, 
peered into it. It stared back at him, a clouded, 
sightless blue. 

He straightened, and stood very still there in the 
utter silence of the hurtling ship. For a moment, 
then, in the intensity of his posture and in the dark 
ruthlessness of his lean, hard features, he seemed 
the veritable embodiment of grim, icy calculation. 

He thought grayly: “If I revived her now, 

she’d have more time to attack me, and more 
strength. If I waited, she’d be weaker — ” 

Slowly, he relaxed. Some of the weariness of 
the years he and this woman had spent together in 
the dark vastness of space came to shatter his ab- 
normal logic. Bleak sympathy touched him — and 
the decision was made. 

He prepared an injection, and fed it into her arm. 
His gray eyes held a steely brightness as he put his 
lips near the woman's ear; in a ringing, resonant 
voice he said : 

“We’re near a star system. There’ll be blood, 
Merlal And life!” 

The woman stirred; momentarily, she seemed 
like a golden-haired doll come alive. No color 
touched her perfectly formed cheeks, but alertness 
crept into her eyes. She stared up at him with a 
hardening hostility, half questioning. 

“I've been chemical,” she said — and abruptly the 
doll-like effect was gone. Her gaze tightened on 
him, and some of the prettiness vanished from her 
face. Her lips twisted into words: 

“It’s damned funny, Jeel, that you're still O. K. 
If I thought — ” 

He was cold, watchful. “Forget it," he said 
curtly. “You’re an energy waster, and you know 
it. Anyway, we’re going to land.” 

The flamelike tenseness of her faded. She sat 
up painfully, but there was a thoughtful look on 
her face as she said: 

“I’m interested in the risks. This is not a Galac- 
tic planet, is it?” 

“There are no Galactics out here. But there is 
an Observer. I've been catching the secret ultra 
signals for the last two hours” — a sardonic note en- 
tered his voice — “warning all ships to stay clear 
because the system isn’t ready for any kind of con- 
tact with Galactic planets.” 

Some of the diabolic glee that was in his 
thoughts must have communicated through his 
tone. The woman stared at him, and slowly her 
eyes widened. She half whispered : 

“You mean — ” 

He shrugged. “The signals ought to be register- 
ing full blast now. We’ll see what degree system 
this is. But you can start hoping hard right now." 

At the control board, he cautiously manipulated 
the room into darkness and set the automatics — a 
picture took form on a screen on the opposite wall. 

At first there was only a point of light in the 

middle of a starry sky, then a planet floating 
brightly in the dark space, continents and oceans 
plainly visible. A voice came out of the screen: 
“This star system contains one inhabited planet, 
the third from the Sun, called Earth by its inhabi- 
tants. It was colonized by Galactics about seven 
thousand years ago in the usual manner. It is now 
in the third degree of development, having attained 
a limited form of space travel little more than a 
hundred years ago. It — ” 

With a swift movement, the man cut off the pic- 
ture and turned on the light, then looked across at 
the woman in a blank, triumphant silence. 

“Third degree!” he said softly, and there was 
an almost incredulous note in his voice. “Only 
third degree. Merla, do you realize what this 
means? This is the opportunity of the ages. I’m 
going to call the Dreegh tribe. If we can’t get 
away with several tankers of blood and a whole 
battery of ‘life,’ we don’t deserve to be immortal. 

He turned toward the communicator; and for 
that exultant moment caution was a dim thing in 
the back of his mind. From the corner of his eye, 
he saw the woman flow from the edge of the cot. 
Too late he twisted aside. The frantic jerk saved 
him only partially; it was their cheeks, not their 
lips that met. 

Blue flame flashed from him to her. The burn- 
ing energy seared his cheek to instant, bleeding 
rawness. He half fell to the floor from the shock; 
and then, furious with the intense agony, he fought 

“I’ll break your bones!” he raged. 

Her laughter, unlovely with her own suppressed 
fury, floated up at him from the floor, where he 
had flung her. She snarled : 

“So you did have a secret supply of ’life’ for 
yourself. You damned double-crosser !” 

His black mortification dimmed before the stark 
realization that anger was useless. Tense with the 
weakness that was already a weight on his muscles, 
he whirled toward the control board, and began 
feverishly to make the adjustments that would pull 
the ship back into normal space and time. 

The body urge grew in him swiftly, a dark, re- 
morseless need. Twice, black nausea sent him reel- 
ing to the cot; but each time he fought back to 
the control board. He sat there finally at the con- 
trols, head drooping, conscious of the numbing 
tautness that crept deeper, deeper — 

Almost, he drove the ship too fast. It turned a 
blazing white when at last it struck the atmosphere 
of the third planet. But those hard metals held 
their shape ; and the terrible speeds yielded to the 
fury of the reversers and to the pressure of the air 
that thickened with every receding mile. 

It was the woman who helped his faltering form 
into the tiny lifeboat. He lay there, gathering 



strength, staring with tense eagerness down at the 
blazing sea of lights that was the first city he had 
seen on the night side of this strange world. 

Dully, he watched as the woman carefuly eased 
the small ship into the darkness behind a shed in a 
little back alley; and, because succor seemed sud- 
denly near, sheer hope enabled him to walk beside 
her to the dimly lighted residential street nearby. 

He would have walked on blankly into the street, 
but the woman’s fingers held him back into the 
shadows of the alleyway. 

“Are you mad?" she whispered. “Lie down. 
We’ll stay right here till someone comes.” 

The cement was hard beneath his body, but after 
a moment of the painful rest it brought, he felt a 
faint surge of energy; and he was able to voice his 
bitter thought: 

"If you hadn’t stolen most of my carefully saved 
‘life,’ we wouldn’t be in this desperate position. 
You know well that it’s more important that I re- 
main at full power." 

In the dark beside him, the woman lay quiet for 
a while; then her defiant whisper came: 

“We both need a change of blood and a new 
charge of ‘life.’ Perhaps I did take a little too 
much out of you, but that was because I had to 
steal it. You wouldn’t have given it to me of your 
own free will, and you know it." 

For a time, the futility of argument held him 
silent, but, as the minutes dragged, that dreadful 
physical urgency once more tainted his thought; 
he said heavily: 

“You realize of course that we’ve revealed our 
presence. We should have waited for the others 
to come. There’s no doubt at all that our ship was 
spotted by the Galactic Observer in this system be- 
fore we reached the outer planets. They’ll have 
tracers on us wherever we go, and, no matter where 
we bury our machine, they’ll know its exact loca- 
tion. It is impossible to hide the interstellar drive 
energies; and, since they wouldn’t make the mis- 
take of bringing such energies to a third degree 
planet, we can’t hope to locate them in that 

“But we must expect an attack of some kind. I 
only hope one of the great Galactics doesn’t take 
part in it.” 

“One of them!” Her whisper was a gasp, then 
she snapped irritably, “Don’t try to scare me. 
You’ve told me time and again that — ” 

“All right, all right!” He spoke grudgingly, 
wearity. “A million years have proven that they 
consider us beneath their personal attention. 

,-And” — in spite of his appalling weakness, scorn 
came — “let any of the kind of agents they have in 
these lower category planets try to stop us.” 

“Hush!” Her whisper was tense. “Footsteps! 
Quick, get to your feet!” 

He was aware of the shadowed form of her ris- 

ing; then her hands were tugging at him. Dizzily, 
he stood up. 

“I don’t think,” he began wanly, "that I can — ” 
“Jeel!” Her whisper beat at him; her hands 
shook him. “It’s a man and a woman. They’re 
'life,' Jeel, ‘life’!” 


He straightened with a terrible effort. A spark 
of the unquenchable will to live that had brought 
him across the black miles and the blacker years, 
burst into flames inside him. Lightly, swiftly, he 
fell into step beside Merla, and strode beside her 
into the open. He saw the shapes of the man and 
the woman. 

In the half-night under the trees of that street, 
the couple came towards them, drawing aside to 
let them pass ; first the woman came, then the man 
— and it was as simple as if all his strength had 
been there in his muscles. 

He saw Merla launch herself at the man; and 
then he was grabbing the woman, his head bending 
instantly for that abnormal kiss — 

Afterwards — after they had taken the blood, too 
— grimness came to the man, a hard fabric of 
thought and counterthought, that slowly formed 
into purpose; he said: 

“We’ll leave the bodies here.” 

Her startled whisper rose in objection, but he 
cut her short harshly : “Let me handle this. These 
dead bodies will draw to this city news gatherers, 
news reporters or whatever their breed are called 
on this planet; and we need such a person now. 
Somewhere in the reservoir of facts possessed by 
a person of this type must be clues, meaningless 
to him, but by which we can discover the secret 
base of the Galactic Observer in this system. We 
must find that base, discover its strength, and de- 
stroy it if necessary when the tribe comes.” 

His voice took on a steely note: “And now, 

we’ve got tp explore this city, find a much fre- 
quented building, under which we can bury our 
ship, learn the language, replenish our own vital 
supplies — and capture that reporter. 

“After I’m through with him” — his tone became 
silk smooth — “he will undoubtedly provide you 
with that physical diversion which you apparently 
crave when you have been particularly chemical." 

He laughed gently, as her fingers gripped his 
arm in the darkness, a convulsive gesture; her 
voice came: "Thank you, Jeel; you do understand, 
don’t you?” 


Behind Leigh, a door opened. Instantly the 
clatter of voices in the room faded to a murmur. 
He turned alertly, tossing his cigarette onto the 
marble floor, and stepping on it, all in one motion. 

Overhead, the lights brightened to daylight in- 
tensity; and in that blaze he saw what the other 
eyes were already staring at: the two bodies, the 



man’s and the woman’s, as they were wheeled in. 

The dead couple lay side by side on the flat, 
gleaming top of the carrier. Their bodies were 
rigid, their eyes closed; they looked as dead as 
they were, and not at all, Leigh thought, as if they 
were sleeping. 

He caught himself making a mental note of that 
fact — and felt abruptly shocked. 

The first murders on the North American conti- 
nent in twenty-seven years. And it was only an- 
other job. By Heaven, he was tougher than he'd 
ever believed. 

He grew aware that the voices had stopped com- 
pletely. The only sound was the hoarse breathing 
of the man nearest him — and then the scrape of his 
own shoes as he went forward. 

His movement acted like a signal on that tense 
group of men. There was a general pressing for- 
ward. Leigh had a moment of hard anxiety; and 
then his bigger, harder muscles brought him where 
he wanted to be, opposite the two heads. 

He leaned forward in dark absorption. His fin- 
gers probed gingerly the neck of the woman, where 
the incisions showed. He did not look up at the 
attendant, as he said softly : 

“This is where the blood was drained?” 


Before he could speak again, another reporter 
interjected: “Any special comment from the po- 
lice scientists? The murders are more than a day 
old now. There ought to be something new.” 
Leigh scarcely heard. The woman’s body, elec- 
trically warmed for embalming, felt eerily lifelike 
to his touch. It was only after a long moment that 
he noticed her lips were badly, almost brutally, 

His gaze flicked to the man; and there were the 
same neck cuts, the same torn lips. He looked up, 
questions quivered on his tongue — and remained 
unspoken as realization came that the calm-voiced 
attendant was still talking. The man was saying : 
“ — normally, when the electric embalmers are 
applied, there is resistance from the static elec- 
tricity of the body. Curiously, that resistance was 
not present in either body.” 

Somebody said: “Just what does that mean?” 
“This static force is actually a form of life force, 
which usually trickles out of a corpse over a period 
of a month. We know of no way to hasten the 
process, but the bruises on the lips show distinct 
burns, which are suggestive." 

There was a craning of necks, a crowding for- 
ward; and Leigh allowed himself to be pushed 
aside. He stopped attentively, as the attendant 
said: “Presumably, a pervert could have kissed 
with such violence." 

“I thought," Leigh called distinctly, “there were 
no more perverts since Professor Ungarn per- 
suaded the government to institute his brand of 
mechanical psychology in all schools, thus ending 

murder, theft, war and all unsocial perversions." 

The attendant in his black frock coat hesitated; 
then : “A very bad one seems to have been missed.” 

He finished: "That’s all, gentlemen. No clues, 
no promise of an early capture, and only this final 
fact: We've wirelessed Professor Ungarn and, by 
great good fortune, we caught him on his way to 
Earth from his meteorite retreat near Jupiter. 
He’ll be landing shortly after dark, in a few hours 

The lights dimmed. As Leigh stood frowning, 
watching the bodies being wheeled out, a phrase 
floated out of the gathering chorus of voices: 

“ — The kiss of death — ’’ 

“I tell you,” another voice said, "the captain of 
this space liner swears it happened — the space- 
ship came past him at a million miles an hour, and 
it was slowing down, get that, slowing down — two 
days ago.” 

“ — The vampire case! That’s what I’m going to 
call it — ’’ 

That’s what Leigh called it, too, as he talked 
briefly into his wrist communicator. He finished: 
“I’m going to supper now. Jim.” 

“O. K., Bill." The local editor’s voice came 
metallically. “And say. I’m supposed to commend 
you. Nine thousand papers took the Planetarian 
Service on this story, as compared with about 
forty-seven hundred who bought from Universal, 
who got the second largest coverage. 

“And I think you've got the right angle for to- 
day also. Husband and wife, ordinary young cou- 
ple, taking an evening’s walk. Some devil hauls 
up alongside them, drains their blood into a tank, 
their life energy onto a wire or something — people 
will believe that, I guess. Anyway, you suggest 
it could happen to anybody; so be careful, folks. 
And you warn that, in these days of interplanetary 
speeds, he could be anywhere tonight for his next 

“As I said before, good stuff. That’ll keep the 
story frying hard for tonight. Oh, by the way — ” 


"A kid called half an hour ago to see you. Said 
you expected him." 

“A kid?” Leigh frowned to himself. 

“Name of Patrick. High school age, about six- 
teen. No, come to think of it, that was only my 
first impression. Eighteen, maybe twenty, very 
bright, confident, proud." 

“I remember now,” said Leigh, “college student. 
Interview for a college paper. Called me up this 
afternoon. One of those damned persuasive 
talkers. Before I knew it, I was signed up for 
supper at Constantine’s.” 

“That’s right. I was supposed to remind you. 
O. K.?" 

Leigh shrugged. “I promised,” he said. 

Actually, as he went out into the blaze of late 



afternoon, sunlit street, there was not a thought in 
his head. Nor a premonition. 

Around him, the swarm of humankind began to 
thicken. Vast buildings discharged the first surge 
of the five o’clock tidal wave — and twice Leigh 
felt the tug at his arm before it struck him that 
someone was not just bumping him. 

He turned, and stared down at a pair of dark, 
eager eyes set in a brown, wizened face. The little 
man waved a sheaf of papers at him. Leigh caught 
a glimpse of writing in longhand on the papers. 
Then the fellow was babbling: 

“Mr. Leigh, hundred dollars for these . . . big- 
gest story — ” 

“Oh,” said Leigh. His interest collapsed; then 
his mind roused itself from its almost blank state; 
and pure politeness made him say: "Take it up to 
the Planetarian office. Jim Brian will pay you 
what the story is worth.” 

He walked on, the vague conviction in his mind 
that the matter was settled. Then, abruptly, there 
was the tugging at his arm again. 

“Scoop!” the little man was muttering. “Pro- 
fessor Ungarn’s log, all about a spaceship that came 
from the stars. Devils in it who drink blood and 
kiss people to death!" 

“See here!” Leigh began, irritated; and then he 
stopped physically and mentally. A strange ugly 
chill swept through him. He stood there, swaying 
a little from the shock of the thought that was 
frozen in his brain : 

The newspapers with those details of "blood" 
and "kiss” were not on the street yet, wouldn't be 
for another five minutes. 

The man was saying: “Look, it’s got Professor 
Ungarn’s name printed in gold on the top of each 
sheet, and it’s all about how he first spotted the 
ship eighteen light years out, and how it came all 
that distance in a few hours . . . and he knows 
where it is now and — ’’ 

Leigh heard, but that was all. His reporter's 
brain, that special, highly developed department, 
was whirling with a little swarm of thoughts that 
suddenly straightened into a hard, bright pattern; 
and in that tightly built design, there was no room 
for any such brazen coincidence as this man com- 
ing to him here in this crowded street. 

He said: “Let me see those!” And reached as 
he spoke. 

The papers came free from the other’s fingers 
into his hands, but Leigh did not even glance at 
them. His brain was crystal-clear, his eyes cold; 
he snapped : 

"I don’t know what game you’re trying to pull. 
I want to know three things, and make your an- 
swers damned fast! One: How did you pick me 
out, name and job and all, here in this packed street 
of a city I haven’t been in for a year?” 

He was vaguely aware of the little man trying 
to speak, stammering incomprehensible words. But 
he paid no attention. Remorselessly, he pounded 

“Two: Professor Ungarn is arriving from Jupi- 
ter in three hours. How do you explain your pos- 
session of papers he must have written, less than 
two days ago?" 

“Look, boss,” the man chattered, “you’ve got me 
all wrong — ” 

"My third question,” Leigh said grimly, “is how 
are you going to explain to the police your pre- 
knowledge of the details of — murder?” 

"Huh!” The little man’s eyes were glassy, and 
for the first time pity came to Leigh. He said al- 
most softly: 

"All right, fellah, start talking.” 

The words came swiftly, and at first they were 
simply senseless sounds; only gradually did co- 
herence come. 

“ — And that’s the way it was, boss. I’m stand- 
ing there, and this kid comes up to me and points 
you out, and gives me five bucks and those papers 
you’ve got, and tells me what I’m supposed to say 
to you and — ’’ 

“Kid!” said Leigh; and the first shock was al- 
ready in him. 

“Yeah, kid about sixteen; no, more like eighteen 
or twenty . . . and he gives me the papers and — ” 

“This kid,” said Leigh, “would you say he was 
of college age?” 

“That’s it, boss; you’ve got it. That’s just what 
he was. You know him, eh? O. K., that leaves me 
in the clear, and I’ll be going — ” 

“Wait!" Leigh called, but the little man seemed 
suddenly to realize that he need only run, for he 
jerked into a mad pace; and people stared, and that 
was all. He vanished around a corner, and was 
gone forever. 

Leigh stood, frowning, reading the thin sheaf of 
papers. And there was nothing beyond what the 
little man had already conveyed by his incoherent 
word of mouth, simply a vague series of entries on 
sheets from a loose-leaf notebook. 

Written down, the tale about the spaceship and 
its occupants lacked depth, and seemed more un- 
convincing each passing second. True, there was 
the single word "Ungarn” inscribed in gold on the 
top of each sheet but — 

Leigh shook himself. The sense of silly hoax 
grew so violently that he thought with abrupt 
anger: If that damned fool college kid really 

pulled a stunt like — 

The thought ended; for the idea was as senseless 
as everything that had happened. 

And still there was no real tension in him. He 
was only going to a restaurant. 

He turned into the splendid foyer that was the 
beginning of the vast and wonderful Constantine’s. 


In the great doorway, he paused for a moment to 
survey the expansive glitter of tables, the hanging 
garden tearooms ; and it was all there. 

Brilliant Constantine’s, famous the world over — 
but not much changed from his last visit. 

Leigh gave his name, and began : “A Mr. Patrick 
made reservations, I understand — ’’ 

The girl cut him short. “Oh, yes, Mr. Leigh. 
Mr. Patrick reserved Private 3 for you. He just 
now phoned to say he'd be along in a few minutes. 
Our premier will escort you." 

Leigh was turning away, a vague puzzled 
thought in his mind at the way the girl had gushed, 
when a flamelike thought struck him: “Just a min- 
ute, did you say Private 3? Who’s paying for 

The girl glowed at him: “It was paid by phone. 
Forty-five hundred dollars!” 

Leigh stood very still. In a single, flashing mo- 
ment, this meeting that, even after what had hap- 
pened on the street, had seemed scarcely more 
than an irritation to be gotten over with, was be- 
come a fantastic, abnormal thing. 

Forty-five — hundred — dollars! Could it be some 
damned fool rich kid sent by a college paper, but 
who had pulled this whole affair because he was 
determined to make a strong, personal impression? 

Coldly, alertly, his brain rejected the solution. 
Humanity produced egoists on an elephantiastic 
scale, but not one who would order a feast like 
that to impress a reporter. 

His eyes narrowed on an idea: “Where’s your 
registered phone?” he asked curtly. 

A minute later, he was saying into the mouth- 
piece: “Is that the Amalgamated Universities 
Secretariat? ... I want to find out if there is a 
Mr. Patrick registered at any of your local col- 
leges, and, if there is, whether or not he has been 
authorized by any college paper to interview Wil- 
liam Leigh of the Planetarian News Service. This 
is Leigh calling.” 

It took six minutes, and then the answer came, 
brisk, tremendous and final : “There are three Mr. 
Patricks in our seventeen units. All are at present 
having supper at their various official residences. 
There are four Miss Patricks similarly accounted 
for by our staff of secretaries. None of these seven 
is in any way connected with a university paper. 
Do you wish any assistance in dealing with the im- 

Leigh hesitated; and when he finally spoke, it 
was with the queer, dark realization that he was 
committing himself. “No,” he said, and hung up. 

He came out of the phone box, shaken by his 
own thoughts. There was only one reason why 
he was in this city at this time. Murder! And he 
knew scarcely a soul. Therefore — 

It was absolutely incredible that any stranger 
would want to see him for a reason not connected 


with his own purpose. He shook the ugly thrill 
out of his system; he said: 

“To Private 3, please — " 

Tensed but cool, he examined the apartment that 
was Private 3. Actually that was all it was. a 
splendidly furnished apartment with a palacelike 
dining salon dominating the five rooms, and one 
entire wall of the salon was lined with decorated 
mirror facings, behind which glittered hundreds 
of bottles of liquors. 

The brands were strange to his inexpensive 
tastes, the scent of several that he opened heady 
and — quite uninviting. In the ladies’ dressing 
room was a long showcase displaying a gleaming 
array of jewelry — several hundred thousand dol- 
lars’ worth, if it was genuine, he estimated swiftly. 

Leigh whistled softly to himself. On the sur- 
face. Constantine's appeared to supply good rental 
value for the money they charged. 

“I’m glad you’re physically big,” said a cool 
voice behind him. “So many reporters are thin 
and small.” 

It was the voice that did it, subtly, differently 
toned than it had been over the phone in the early 
afternoon. Deliberately different. 

The difference, he noted as he turned, was in the 
body, too. the difference in the shape of a woman 
from a boy, skillfully but not perfectly concealed 
under the well-tailored man’s suit — actually, of 
course, she was quite boyish in build, young, finely 

And, actually, he would never have suspected if 
she had not allowed her voice to be so purposefully 
womanish. She echoed his thought coolly: 

“Yes, I wanted you to know. But now, there’s 
no use wasting words. You know as much as you 
need to know. Here's a gun. The spaceship is 
buried below this building.” 

Leigh made no effort to take the weapon, nor 
did he even glance at it. Instead, cool now, that 
the first shock was over, he seated himself on the 
silk-yielding chair of the vanity dresser in one 
corner, leaned heavily back against the vanity it- 
self. raised his eyebrows, and said: 

“Consider me a slow-witted lunk who's got to 
know what it’s all about. Why so much prelimi- 
nary hocus-pocus?” 

He thought deliberately: He had never in his 
adult life allowed himself to be rushed into any- 
thing. He was not going to start now. 


The girl, he saw after a moment, was small of 
build. Which was odd, he decided carefully. Be- 
cause his first impression had been of reasonable 
length of body. Or perhaps — he considered the 
possibility unhurriedly — this second effect was a 
more considered result of her male disguise. 



He dismissed that particular problem as tempo- 
rarily insoluble, and because actually — it struck 
him abruptly — this girl’s size was unimportant. 
She had long, black lashes and dark eyes that 
glowed at him from a proud, almost haughty face. 
And that was it; quite definitely that was the es- 
sence of her blazing, powerful personality. 

Pride was in the way she held her head. It was 
in the poised easiness of every movement, the natu- 
ral shift from grace to grace as she walked slowly 
toward him. Not conscious pride here, but an 
awareness of superiority that affected every move- 
ment of her muscles, and came vibrantly into her 
voice, as she said scathingly: 

“I picked you because every newspaper I’ve read 

today carried your account of the murders, and 
because it seemed to me that somebody who already 
was actively working on the case would be reason- 
ably quick at grasping essentials. As for the dra- 
matic preparation, I considered that would be more 
convincing than drab explanation. I see I was mis- 
taken in all these assumptions.” 

She was quite close to him now. She leaned over, 
laid her revolver on the vanity beside his arm, and 
finished almost indifferently: 

“Here’s an effective weapon. It doesn’t shoot 
bullets, but it has a trigger and you aim it like any 
gun. In the event you develop the beginning of 
courage, come down the tunnel after me as quickly 
as possible, but don’t blunder in on me and the peo- 



pie I shall be talking to. Stay hidden! Act only 
if I’m threatened." 

Tunnel, Leigh thought stolidly, as she walked 
with a free, swift stride out of the room — tunnel 
here in this apartment called Private 3. Either he 
was crazy, or she was. 

Quite suddenly, realization came that he ought 
to be offended at the way she had spoken. And 
that insultingly simple come-on trick of hers, leav- 
ing the room, leaving him to develop curiosity — 
he smiled ruefully; if he hadn’t been a reporter, 
he’d show her that such a second-rate psychology 
didn’t work on him. 

Still annoyed, he climbed to his feet, took the 
gun, and then paused briefly as the odd, muffled 
sound came of a door opening reluctantly — 

He found her in the bedroom to the left of the 
dining salon; and because his mind was still in that 
state of pure receptiveness, which, for him, re- 
placed indecisiveness, he felt only the vaguest sur- 
prise to see that she had the end of a lush green 
rug rolled back, and that there was a hole in the 
floor at her feet. 

The gleaming square of floor that must have cov- 
ered the opening, lay back neatly, pinned to posi- 
tion by a single, glitteringly complicated hinge. 
But Leigh scarcely noticed that. 

His gaze reached beyond that — tunnel — to the 
girl; and, in that moment, just before she became 
aware of him, there was the barest suggestion of 
uncertainty about her. And her right profile, half 
turned away from him, showed pursed lips, a 
strained whiteness, as if — 

The impression he received was of indecisive- 
ness. He had the subtle sense of observing a young 
woman who, briefly, had lost her superb confidence. 
Then she saw him ; and his whole emotion picture 

She didn’t seem to stiffen in any way. Paying 
no attention to him at all, she stepped down to the 
first stair of the little stairway that led down into 
the hole, and began to descend without a quiver of 
hesitation. And yet — 

Yet his first conviction that she had faltered 
brought him forward with narrowed eyes. And, 
suddenly, that certainty of her brief fear made 
this whole madness real. He plunged forward, 
down the steep -stairway, and pulled up only when 
he saw that he was actually in a smooth, dimly 
lighted tunnel; and that the girl had paused, one 
finger to her lips. 

“SsssAft/” she said. “The door of the ship may be 

Irritation struck Leigh, a hard trickle of anger. 
Now that he had committed himself, he felt auto- 
matically the leader of this fantastic expedition; 
and that girl’s pretensions, the devastating haugh- 
tiness of her merely produced his first real impa- 

“Don’t ‘ssshh me’!” he whispered sharply. “Just 
give me the facts, and I'll do the rest.” 

He stopped. For the first time the meaning of 
all the words she had spoken penetrated. His 
anger collapsed like a plane in a crash landing. 

“Ship!” he said incredulously. “Are you trying 
to tell me there’s actually a spaceship buried here 
under Constantine’s?" 

The girl seemed not to hear; and Leigh saw that 
they were at the end of a short passageway. Metal 
gleamed dully just ahead. Then the girl was say- 

“Here’s the door. Now, remember, you act as 
guard. Stay hidden, ready to shoot. And if I yell 
‘Shoot,’ you shoot!" 

She bent forward. There was the tiniest scarlet 
flash. The door opened, revealing a second door 
just beyond. Again that minute, intense blaze of 
red ; and that door too swung open. 

It was swiftly done, too swiftly. Before Leigh 
could more than grasp that the crisis was come, the 
girl stepped coolly into the brilliantly lighted 
room beyond the second door. 

There was shadow where Leigh stood half-para- 
lyzed by the girl's action. There was deeper 
shadow against the metal wall toward which he 
pressed himself in one instinctive move. He froze 
there, cursing silently at a stupid young woman 
who actually walked into a den of enemies of un- 
known numbers without a genuine plan of self-pro- 

Or did she know how many there were? And 

The questions made twisting paths in his mind 
down, down to a thrall of blankness — that ended 
only when an entirely different thought replaced 


At least he was out here with a gun, unnoticed 
— or was he? 

He waited tensely. But the door remained open ; 
and there was no apparent movement towards it. 
Slowly, Leigh let himself relax, and allowed his 
straining mind to absorb its first considered im- 

The portion of underground room that he could 
see showed one end of what seemed to be a control 
board, a metal wall that blinked with tiny lights, 
the edge of a rather sumptuous cot — and the whole 
was actually so suggestive of a spaceship that 
Leigh’s logic-resistance collapsed. 

Incredibly, here under the ground, actually 
under Constantine’s was a small spaceship and — 

That thought ended, too, as the silence beyond 
the open door, the curiously long silence, was 
broken by a man's cool voice: 

“I wouldn’t even try to raise that gun if I were 
you. The fact that you have said nothing since 
entering shows how enormously different we are 
to what you expected.” 



He laughed gently, an unhurried, deep-throated 
derisive laughter that came clearly to Leigh. The 
man said : 

“Merla, what would you say is the psychology 
behind this young lady’s action? You have of 
course noticed that she is a young lady, and not 
a boy.” 

A richly toned woman’s voice replied : “She was 
born here. Jeel. She has none of the normal char- 
acteristics of a Klugg, but she is a Galactic, though 
definitely not the Galactic Observer. Probably, 
she’s not alone. Shall I investigate?" 

“No!” The man sounded indifferent to the tens- 
ing Leigh. “We don’t have to worry about a 
Klugg’s assistant.” 

Leigh relaxed slowly, but there was a vast un- 
easiness in his solar nerves, a sense of emptiness, 
the first realization of how great a part the calm 
assurance of the young woman had played in the 
fabricating of his own basic confidence. 

Shattered now! Before the enormous certain- 
ties of these two, and in the face of their instant 
penetration of her male disguise, the effects of 
the girl’s rather wonderful personality seemed a 
remote pattern, secondary, definitely overwhelmed. 

He forced the fear from him, as the girl spoke; 
forced his courage to grow with each word she 
uttered, feeding on the haughty and immense con- 
fidence that was there. It didn't matter whether 
she was simulating or not, because they were in 
this now, he as deep as she; and only the utmost 
boldness could hope to draw a fraction of victory 
from the defeat that loomed so starkly. 

With genuine admiration, he noted the glowing 
intensity of her speech, as she said: 

“My silence had its origin in the fact that you 
are the first Dreeghs I have ever seen. Naturally, 
I studied you with some curiosity, but I can assure 
you I am not impressed. 

“However, in view of your extraordinary opin- 
ions on the matter, I shall come to the point at 
once: I have been instructed by the Galactic Ob- 
server of this system to inform you to be gone by 
morning. Our sole reason for giving you that 
much leeway is that we don’t wish to bring the 
truth of all this into the open. 

“But don’t count on that. Earth is on the verge 
of being given fourth degree rating; and, as you 
probably know, in emergencies fourths are given 
Galactic knowledge. That emergency we will con- 
sider to have arrived tomorrow at dawn.” 

“Well, well” — the man was laughing gently, sa- 
tirically — “a pretty speech, powerfully spoken, but 
meaningless for us who can analyze its pretensions, 
however sincere, back to the Klugg origin.” 

“What do you intend with her, Jeel?” 

The man was cold, deadly, utterly sure. “There’s 
no reason why she should escape. She has blood 
and more than normal life. It will convey to the 

Observer with clarity our contempt for his ulti- 

He finished with a slow, surprisingly rich laugh- 
ter: “We shall now enact a simple drama. The 
young lady will attempt to jerk up her gun and 
shoot me with it. Before she can even begin to 
succeed, I shall have my own weapon out and fir- 
ing. The whole thing, as she will discover, is a 
matter of nervous co-ordination. And Kluggs are 
chronically almost as slow-moving as human be- 

His voice stopped. His laughter trickled away. 


In all his alert years, Leigh had never felt more 
indecisive. His emotions said — now; surely, she’d 
call now. And even if she didn’t, he must act on 
his own. Rush in! Shoot! 

But his mind was cold with an awful dread. 
There was something about the man’s voice, a surg- 
ing power, a blazing, incredible certainty. Abnor- 
mal, savage strength was here; and if this was 
really a spaceship from the stars — 

His brain wouldn't follow that flashing, terrible 
thought. He crouched, fingering the gun she had 
given him, dimly conscious for the first time that 
it felt queer, unlike any revolver he’d ever had. 

He crouched stiffly, waiting — and the silence 
from the spaceship control room, from the tensed 
figures that must be there just beyond his line of 
vision, continued. The same curious silence that 
had followed the girl’s entrance short minutes be- 
fore. Only this time it was the girl who broke 
it, her voice faintly breathless but withal cool, vi- 
brant, unafraid: 

“I’m here to warn, not to force issues. And un- 
less you’re charged with the life energy of fifteen 
men, I wouldn't advise you to try anything either. 
After all, I came here knowing what you were.” 

“What do you think, Merla? Can we be sure 
she's a Klugg? Could she possibly be of the higher 
Lennel type?” 

It was the man, his tone conceding her point, but 
the derision was still there, the implacable purpose, 
the high, tremendous confidence. 

And yet, in spite of that unrelenting sense of im- 
minent violence, Leigh felt himself torn from the 
thought of her danger — and his. His reporter's 
brain twisted irresistibly to the fantastic meaning 
of what was taking place: 

— Life energy of fifteen men — 

It was all there; in a monstrous way it all fitted. 
The two dead bodies he had seen drained of blood 
and life energy, the repeated reference to a Galac- 
tic Observer, with whom the girl was connected. 

Leigh thought almost blankly: Galactic meant — 
well — Galactic; and that was so terrific that — He 
grew aware that the woman was speaking: 

“Klugg!” she said positively. “Pay no attention 
to her protestations, Jeel. You know, I’m sensitive 



when it comes to women. She’s lying. She’s just 
a little fool who walked in here expecting us to be 
frightened of her. Destroy her at your pleasure.” 
“I’m not given to waiting,” said the man. "So — ” 

Quite automatically, Leigh leaped for the open 
doorway. He had a flashing glimpse of a man and 
woman, dressed in evening clothes, the man stand- 
ing, the woman seated. There was awareness of 
a gleaming, metallic background, the control board, 
part of which he had already seen, now revealed as 
a massive thing of glowing instruments; and then 
all that blotted out as he snapped : 

“That will do. Put up your hands.” 

For a long, dazzling moment he had the impres- 
sion that his entry was a complete surprise; and 
that he dominated the situation. None of the three 
people in the room was turned toward him. The 
man, Jeel, and the girl were standing, facing each 
other ; the woman, Merla, sat in a deep chair, her 
fine profile to him, her golden head flung back. 

It was she who, still without looking at him, 
sneered visibly — and spoke the words that ended 
his brief conviction of triumph. She said to the 
disguised girl: 

“You certainly travel in low company, a stupid 
human being. Tell him to go away before he’s 

The girl said: “Leigh, I’m sorry I brought you 
into this. Every move you made in entering was 
heard, observed and dismissed before you could 
even adjust your mind to the scene.” 

“Is his name Leigh?” said the woman sharply. 
“I thought I recognized him as he entered. He’s 
very like his photograph over his newspaper col- 
umn.” Her voice grew strangely tense: “Jeel, a 
newspaper reporter!” 

“We don’t need him now,” the man said. “We 
know who the Galactic Observer is.” 

“Eh?” said Leigh; his mind fastened hard on 
those amazing words. “Who? How did you find 
out? What — ” 

“The information.” said the woman; and it 
struck him suddenly that the strange quality in 
her voice was eagerness, “will be of no use to you. 
Regardless of what happens to the girl, you're 

She glanced swiftly at the man, as if seeking his 
sanction. “Remember, Jeel, you promised." 

It was all quite senseless, so meaningless that 
Leigh had no sense of personal danger. His mind 
scarcely more than passed the words ; his eyes con- 
centrated tautly on a reality that had, until that 
moment, escaped his awareness. He said softly: 
“Just now you used the phrase, 'Regardless of 
what happens to the girl.’ When I came in, you 
said, ‘Tell him to go away before he’s damaged.”’ 
Leigh smiled grimly: “I need hardly say this 
is a far cry from the threat of immediate death that 

hung over us a few seconds ago. And I have just 
now noticed the reason. 

“A little while ago, I heard our pal, Jeel, dare 
my little girl friend here to raise her gun. I notice 
now that she has it raised. My entrance did have 
an effect.” He addressed himself to the girl, fin- 
ished swiftly: “Shall we shoot — or withdraw?” 

It was the man who answered : “I would advise 
withdrawal. I could still win, but I am not the 
heroic type who takes the risk of what might well 
be a close call." 

He added, in an aside to the woman: “Merla, we 
can always catch this man, Leigh, now that we 
know who he is.” 

The girl said: “You first, Mr. Leigh." And 
Leigh did not stop to argue. 

Metal doors clanged behind him, as he charged 
along the tunnel. After a moment, he was aware 
of the girl running lightly beside him. 

The strangely unreal, the unbelievably murder- 
ous little drama was over, finished as fantastically 
as it had begun. 


Outside Constantine’s a gray light gathered 
around them. A twilight side street it was, and 
people hurried past them with the strange, anxious 
look of the late for supper. Night was falling. 

Leigh stared at his companion; in the dimness 
of the deep dusk, she seemed all boy, slightly, 
lithely built, striding along boldly. He laughed a 
little, huskily, then more grimly: 

“Just what was all that? Did we escape by the 
skin of our teeth? Or did we win? What made 
you think you could act like God, and give those 
tough eggs twelve hours to get out of the Solar 

The girl was silent after he had spoken. She 
walked just ahead of him, head bent into the 
gloom. Abruptly, she turned; she said: 

“I hope you will have no nonsensical idea of tell- 
ing what you’ve seen or heard.” 

Leigh said: "This is the biggest story since — ’’ 

“Look” — the girl’s voice was pitying — “you’re 
not going to print a word because in about ten sec- 
onds you’ll see that no one in the world would be- 
lieve the first paragraph." 

In the darkness, Leigh smiled tightly: “The me- 
chanical psychologist will verify every syllable.” 

“I came prepared for that, too!” said the vibrant 
voice. Her hand swung up, toward his face. Too 
late, he jerked back. 

Light flared in his eyes, a dazzling, blinding 
force that exploded into his sensitive optic nerves 
with all the agonizing power of intolerable bright- 
ness. Leigh cursed aloud, wildly, and snatched 
forward toward his tormenter. His right hand 
grazed a shoulder. He lashed out violently with 
his left, and tantalizingly caught only the edge of 
a sleeve that instantly jerked away. 


"You little devil!” he raged futilely. “You’ve 
blinded me.” 

“You’ll be all right,” came the cool answer, "but 
you’ll find that the mechanical psychologist will 
report anything you say as the purest imagination. 
In view of your threat to publish, I had to do that. 
Now, give me my gun." 

The first glimmer of sight was returning. Leigh 
could see her body a dim, wavering shape in the 
night. In spite of the continuing pain, Leigh 
smiled grimly. He said softly: 

"I’ve just now remembered you said this gun 
didn’t shoot bullets. Even the feel of it suggests 
that it’ll make an interesting proof of anything I 
say. So — ” 

His smile faded abruptly. For the girl stepped 
forward. The metal that jabbed into his ribs was 
so hardly thrust, it made him grunt. 

“Give me that gun!" 

“Like fun I will,” Leigh snapped. “You un- 
grateful little ruffian, how dare you treat me so 
shoddily after I saved your life? I ought to knock 
you one right on the jaw for — ” 

He stopped — stopped because with staggering 
suddenness the hard, hard realization struck that 
she meant it. This was no girl raised in a refined 
school, who wouldn’t dare to shoot, but a cold- 
blooded young creature, who had already proved 
the metalliclike fabric of which her courage was 

He had never had any notions about the superi- 
ority of man over woman ; and he felt none now. 
Without a single word, almost hastily, he handed 
the weapon over. The girl took it, and said coldly: 

“You seem to be laboring under the illusion that 
your entry into the spaceship enabled me to raise 
my weapon. You're quite mistaken. What you did 
do was to provide me with the opportunity to let 
them think that that was the situation, and that 
they dominated it. But I assure you, that is the 
extent of your assistance, almost valueless." 

Leigh laughed out loud, a pitying, ridiculing 

"In my admittedly short life,” he said laconi- 
cally, “I’ve learned to recognize a quality of per- 
sonality and magnetism in human beings. You've 
got it, a lot of it, but not a fraction of what either 
of those two had. particularly the man. He was 
terrible. He was absolutely the most abnormally 
magnetic human being I’ve ever run across. Lady, 
I can only guess what all this is about, but I’d ad- 
vise you” — Leigh paused, then finished slashingly 
— “you and all the other Kluggs to stay away from 
that couple. 

“Personally, I’m going to get the police in on 
this, and there’s going to be a raid on Private 3. 
I didn’t like that odd threat that they could cap- 
ture me any time. Why me — ” 

He broke off hastily: “Hey, where are you go- 

ing? I want to know your name. I want to know 
what made you think you could order those two 
around. Who did you think you were ?" 

He said no more, his whole effort concentrated 
on running. He could see her for a moment, a 
hazy, boyish figure against a dim corner light. 
Then she was around the corner. 

His only point of contact with all this; and if 
she got away — 

Sweating, he rounded the corner ; and at first the 
street seemed dark and empty of life. Then he 
saw the car. 

A normal-looking, high-hooded coup£, long, low- 
built, that began to move forward noiselessly and 
— quite normally. 

It became abnormal. It lifted. Amazingly, it 
lifted from the ground. He had a swift glimpse 
of white rubber wheels folding out of sight. 
Streamlined, almost cigar-shaped now, the space- 
ship that had been a car darted at a steep angle 
into the sky. 

Instantly it was gone. 

Above Leigh, the gathering night towered, a 
strange, bright blue. In spite of the brilliant lights 
of the city glaring into the sky, one or two stars 
showed. He stared up at them, empty inside, 
thinking : “It was like a dream. Those — Dreeghs 
— coming out of space — bloodsuckers, vampires.” 

Suddenly hungry, he bought a chocolate from a 
sidewalk stand, and stood munching it. 

He began to feel better. He walked over to a 
nearby wall socket, and plugged in his wrist radio. 

“Jim,” he said, “I’ve got some stuff, not for 
publication, but maybe we can get some police ac- 
tion on it. Then I want you to have a mechanical 
psychologist sent to my hotel room. There must 
be some memory that can be salvaged from my 
brain — ” 

He went on briskly. His sense of inadequacy 
waned notably. Reporter Leigh was himself again. 


The little glistening balls of the mechanical psy- 
chologist were whirring faster, faster. They be- 
came a single, glowing circle in the darkness. And 
not till then did the first, delicious whiff of psy- 
cho-gas touch his nostrils. He felt himself drift- 
ing, slipping— 

A voice began to speak in the dim distance, so 
far away that not a word came through. There 
was only the sound, the faint, curious sound, and 
the feeling, stronger every instant, that he would 
soon be able to hear the fascinating things it 
seemed to be saying. 

The longing to hear, to become a part of the 
swelling, murmuring sound drew his whole being 
in little rhythmical, wavelike surges. And still 
the promise of meaning was unfulfilled. 

Other, private thoughts ended utterly. Only 



the mindless chant remained, and the pleasing gas 
holding him so close to sleep, its flow nevertheless 
so delicately adjusted that his mind hovered min- 
ute after minute on the ultimate abyss of con- 

He lay, finally, still partially awake, but even the 
voice was merging now into blackness. It clung 
for a while, a gentle, friendly, melodious sound in 
the remote background of his brain, becoming more 
remote with each passing instant. He slept, a deep, 
hypnotic sleep, as the machine purred on — 

When Leigh opened his eyes, the bedroom was 
dark except for the floor lamp beside a corner 
chair. It illuminated the darkly dressed woman 
who sat there, all except her face, which was in 
shadow above the circle of light. 

He must have moved, for the shadowed head sud- 
denly looked up from some sheets of typewriter- 
size paper. The voice of Merla, the Dreegh, said: 

“The girl did a very good job of erasing your 
subconscious memories. There’s only one possible 
clue to her identity and — ” 

Her words went on, but his brain jangled them 
to senselessness in that first horrible shock of 
recognition. It was too much, too much fear in 
too short a time. For a brief, terrible moment, he 
was like a child, and strange, cunning, intense 
thoughts of escape came: 

If he could slide to the side of the bed, away 
from where she was sitting, and run for the bath- 
room door — 

“Surely, Mr. Leigh,” the woman’s voice reached 
toward him, “you know better than to try anything 
foolish. And, surely, if I had intended to kill you, 
I would have done it much more easily while you 
were asleep." 

Leigh lay very still, gathering his mind back 
into his head, licking dry lips. Her words were 
utterly unreassuring. “What — do — you — want?" 
he managed finally. 

"Information!" Laconically. “What was that 

“I don’t know.” He 6tared into the half gloom, 
where her face was. His eyes were more accus- 
tomed to the light now, and he could catch the 
faint, golden glint of her hair. “I thought — you 

He went on more swiftly: “I thought you knew 
the Galactic Observer; and that implied the girl 
could be Identified any time.” 

He had the impression she was smiling. She 
said : 

“Our statement to that effect was designed to 
throw both you and the girl off guard, and con- 
stituted the partial victory we snatched from what 
had become an impossible situation.” 

The body sickness was still upon Leigh, but the 
desperate fear that had produced it was fading be- 
fore the implications of her confession of weak- 

ness, the realization that these Dreeghs were not 
so superhuman as he had thought. Relief was fol- 
lowed by caution. Careful, he warned himself, it 
wouldn’t be wise to underestimate. But he couldn’t 
help saying: 

“So you weren’t so smart. And I’d like to point 
out that even your so-called snatching of victory 
from defeat was not so well done. Your husband’s 
statement that you could pick me up any time 
could easily have spoiled the picking.” 

The woman's voice was cool, faintly contemptu- 
ous. "If you knew anything of psychology, you 
would realize that the vague phrasing of the threat 
actually lulled you. Certainly, you failed to take 
even minimum precautions. And the girl has 
definitely not made any effort to protect you.” 

The suggestion of deliberately subtle tactics 
brought to Leigh a twinge of returning alarm. 
Deep, deep inside him was the thought: What 

ending did the Dreegh woman plan for this strange 

"You realize, of course,” the Dreegh said softly, 
“that you will either be of value to us alive — or 



dead. There are no easy alternatives. I would 
advise alertness and utmost sincerity in your co- 
operation. You are in his affair without limit.” 

So that was the plan. A thin bead of perspira- 
tion trickled down Leigh’s cheek. And his fingers 
trembled as he reached for a cigarette on the table 
beside the bed. 

He was shakily lighting the cigarette when his 
gaze fastened on the window. That brought a 
faint shock, for it was raining, a furious rain that 
hammered soundlessly against the noise-proof 

He pictured the bleak, empty streets, their bril- 
liance dulled by the black, rain-filled night; and, 
strangely, the mind picture unnerved him. 

Deserted streets — deserted Leigh. For he was 
deserted here; all the friends he had, scattered over 
the great reaches of the earth, couldn't add one 
ounce of strength, or bring one real ray of hope 
to him in this darkened room, against this woman 
who sat so calmly under the light, studying him 
from shadowed eyes. 

With a sharp effort, Leigh steadied himself. He 
said: “I gather that's my psychograph report you 
have in your hand. What does it say?" 

“Very disappointing." Her voice seemed far 
away. “There’s a warning in it about your diet. 
It seems your meals are irregular.” 

She was playing with him. The heavy attempt 
at humor made her seem more inhuman, not loss; 
for, somehow, the words clashed unbearably with 
the reality of her; the dark immensity of space 
across which she had come, the unnatural lusts 
that had brought her and the man to this literally 
unprotected Earth. 

Leigh shivered. Then he thought fiercely: 
“Damn it. I’m scaring myself. So long as she stays 
in her chair, she can't pull the vampire on me.” 

The harder thought came that it was no use 
being frightened. He’d better simply be himself, 
and await events. Aloud, he said : 

“If there’s nothing in the psychograph, then 
Im afraid I can't help you. You might as well 
leave. Your presence isn't making me any hap- 

In a dim way, he hoped she'd laugh. But she 
didn’t. She sat there, her eyes glinting dully out 
of the gloom. At last, she said : 

“We’ll go through this report together. I think 
we can safely omit the references to your health 
as being irrelevant. But there are a number of 
factors that I want developed. Who is Professor 

“A scientist." Leigh spoke frankly. "He in- 
vented this system of mechanical hypnosis, and 
he was called in when the dead bodies were found 
because the killings seemed to have been done by 

“Have you any knowledge of his physical ap- 

“I’ve never seen him,” Leigh said more slowly. 
“He never gives interviews, and his photograph is 
not available now. I've heard stories, but — " 

He hesitated. It wasn't, he thought frowning, 
as if he was giving what was not general knowl- 
edge. What was the woman getting at, anyway? 
Ungarn — 

“These stories," she said, “do they give the im- 
pression that he's a man of inordinate magnetic 
force, but with lines of mental suffering etched in 
his face, and a sort of resignation?” 

“Resignation to what?” Leigh exclaimed 
sharply. “I haven’t the faintest idea what you’re 
talking about. I've only seen photographs, and 
they show a fine, rather sensitive, tired face." 

She said: “There would be more information 
in any library?” 

“Or in the Planetarian Service morgue," Leigh 
said, and could have bitten off his tongue for that 
bit of gratuitous information. 

“Morgue?” said the woman. 

Leigh explained, but his voice was trembb'.ng 
with self-rage. For seconds now the feeling had 
been growing on him: Was it possible this devil- 
ish woman was on the right track? And getting 
damaging answers out of him because he dared 
not stop and organize for lying. 

Even as savage anxiety came, he had an incon- 
gruous sense of the unfairness of the abnormally 
swift way she had solved the Observer’s identity 
because, damn it, damn it, it could be Professor 

Ungarn, the mystery scientist, great inventor in 
a dozen highly complicated, widely separated 
fields; and there was that mysterious meteorite 
home near one of Jupiter's moons and he had 
a daughter, named Patricia. Good heavens, 
Patrick— Patricia— 

His shaky stream of thoughts ended, as the 
woman said : 

“Can you have your office send the information 
to your recorder here?” 

“Y-yes!" His reluctance was so obvious that 
the woman bent into the light. For a moment, her 
golden hair glittered; her pale-blue eyes glowed 
at him in a strangely humorless, satanic amuse- 

“Ah!” she said, “you think so, too?” 

She laughed, an odd, musical laugh — odd in that 
it was at once so curt and so pleasant. The laugh 
ended abruptly, unnaturally, on a high note. And 
then — although he had not seen her move — there 
was a metal thing in her hand, pointing at him. 
Her voice came at him, with a brittle, jarring 
command : 

“You will climb out of the bed, operate the 
recorder, and naturally you will do nothing, say 
nothing but what is necessary.” 



Leigh felt genuinely dizzy. The room swayed; 
and he thought sickly: If he could only faint. 

But he recognized dismally that that was beyond 
the power of his tough body. It was sheer mental 
dismay that made his nerves so shivery. And even 
that faded like fog in strong sunlight, as he walked 
to the recorder. For the first time in his life, he 
hated the resilience of strength that made his voice 
steady as a rock, as, after setting the machine, he 
said : 

“This is William Leigh. Give me all the dope 
you’ve got on Professor Garret Ungarn.” 

There was a pause, during which he thought 
hopelessly: “It wasn’t as if he was giving infor- 
mation not otherwise accessible. Only — ” 

There was a click in the machine; then a brisk 
voice: “You've got it. Sign the form.” 

Leigh signed, and watched the signature dis- 
solve into the machine. It was then, as he was 
straightening, that the woman said: 

"Shall I read it here, Jeel, or shall we take the 
machine along?” 

That was mind-wrecking. Like a man possessed, 
Leigh whirled; and then, very carefully, he sat 
down on the bed. 

The Dreegh, Jeel, was leaning idly against the 
jamb of the bathroom door, a dark, malignantly 
handsome man. with a faint, unpleasant smile on 
his lips. Behind him — incredibly, behind him, 
through the open bathroom door was, not the 
gleaming bath, but another door; and beyond that 
door still another door, and beyond that — 

The control room of the Dreegh spaceship! 
There it was, exactly as he had seen it in the 
solid ground under Constantine’s. He had the 
same partial view of the sumptuous cot, the im- 
posing section of instrument board, the tastefully 
padded floor — 

In his bathroom! 

The insane thought came to Leigh: “Oh, yes, 
I keep my spaceship in my bathroom and — ” It 
was the Dreegh’s voice that drew his brain from 
its dizzy contemplation; the Dreegh saying: 

“I think we’d better leave. I’m having difficulty 
holding the ship on the alternation of space-time 
planes. Bring the man and the machine and — ’’ 
Leigh didn’t hear the last word. He jerked his 
mind all the way out of the — bathroom. “You’re — 
taking — me?” 

“Why, of course.” It was the woman who spoke. 
“You’ve been promised to me, and, besides, we’ll 
need your help in finding Ungarn’s meteorite.” 
Leigh sat very still. The unnatural thought 
came : He was glad that he had in the past proven 
to himself that he was not a coward. 

For here was certainty of death. 

He saw after a moment that the rain was still 
beating against the glass, great, sparkling drops 

that washed murkily down the broad panes. And 
he saw that the night was dark. 

Dark night, dark rain, dark destiny — they fitted 
his dark, grim thoughts. With an effort he forced 
his body, his mind, into greater stiffness. Auto- 
matically, he shifted his position, so that the 
weight of muscles would draw a tight band over 
the hollowness that he felt in his stomach. When 
at last he faced his alien captors again, Reporter 
Leigh was cold with acceptance of his fate — and 
prepared to fight for his life. 

"I can’t think of a single reason,” he said, “why 
I should go with you. And if you think I’m going 
to help you destroy the Observer, you’re crazy.” 

The woman said matter-of-factly : “There was 
a passing reference in your psychograph to a Mrs. 
Henry Leigh, who lives in a village called Relton, 
on the Pacific coast. We could be there in half an 
hour, your mother and her home destroyed within 
a minute after that. Or, perhaps, we could add 
her blood to our reserves.” 

“She would be too old,” the man said in a chill 
tone. “We do not want the blood of old people.” 

It was the icy objection that brought horror to 
Leigh. He had a brief, terrible picture of a silent, 
immensely swift ship sweeping out of the Eastern 
night, over the peaceful hamlet; and then un- 
earthly energies would reach down in a blaze of 

One second of slashing fire, and the ship would 
sweep on over the long, dark waters to the west. 

The deadly picture faded. The woman was say- 
ing, gently: 

“Jeel and I have evolved an interesting little 
system of interviewing human beings of the lower 
order. For some reason, he frightens people 
merely by his presence. Similarly, people develop 
an unnatural fear of me when they see me clearly 
in a strong light. So we have always tried to 
arrange our meetings with human beings with me 
sitting in semidarkness and Jeel very much in the 
background. It has proved very effective.” 

She stood up, a tall, lithely built, shadowed 
figure in a rather tight-fitting skirt and a dark 
blouse. She finished: “But now, shall we go? 

You bring the machine, Mr. Leigh.” 

“I’ll take it,” said the Dreegh. 

Leigh glanced sharply at the lean, sinewed face 
of the terrible man, startled at the instant, accurate 
suspicion of the desperate intention that had 
formed in his mind. 

The Dreegh loomed over the small machine, 
where it stood on a corner desk. “How does it 
work?” he asked almost mildly. 

Trembling, Leigh stepped forward. There was 
still a chance that he could manage this without 
additional danger to anyone. Not that it would be 
more than a vexation, unless — as their suggestion 
about finding the Ungarn meteorite indicated — 



they headed straight out to space. Then, why, it 
might actually cause real delay. He began swiftly : 

“Press the key marked ‘Titles,’ and the machine 
will type all the main headings.” 

“That sounds reasonable.” The long, grim-faced 
head nodded. The Dreegh reached forward, 
pressed the button. The recorder hummed softly, 
and a section of it lit up, showing typed lines un- 
der a transparent covering. There were several 

“ — ‘His Meteorite Home,’ ” the Dreegh read. 
“That’s what I want. What is the next step?" 

“Press the key marked ‘Subheads.’ ” 

Leigh was suddenly shaky. He groaned in- 
wardly. Was it possible this creature-man was 
going to obtain the information he wanted? Cer- 
tainly, such a tremendous intelligence would not 
easily be led away from logical sequence. 

He forced himself to grimness. He’d have to 
take a chance. 

“The subhead I desire,” said the Dreegh, “is 
marked ‘Location.’ And there is a number, one. 
in front of it. What next?" 

“Press Key No. 1," Leigh sai,d, "then press the 
key lettered ‘General Release.’ ” 

The moment he had spoken, he grew taut. If this 
worked — and it should. There was no reason why 
it shouldn’t. 

Key No. 1 would impart all the information 
under that heading. And surely the man would 
not want more until later. After all, this was only 
a test. They were in a hurry. 

And later, when the Dreegh discovered that the 
“General Release" key had dissolved all the other 
information — it would be too late. 

The thought dimmed. Leigh started. The 
Dreegh was staring at him with a bleak sar- 
donicism. The man said: 

“Your voice has been like an organ; each word 
uttered full of subtle shadings that mean much to 
the sensitive ear. Accordingly" — a steely, fero- 
cious smile twisted that lean and deadly face — 
"I shall press Key No. 1. But not ‘General Re- 
lease.’ And as soon as I’ve examined the little 
story on the recorder, I shall attend to you for 
that attempted trick. The sentence is— death." 


“Death!” reiterated the man flatly. And the 
woman was silent. 

There was silence, then, except for the subdued 
humming of the recorder. Leigh’s mind was al- 
most without thought. He felt fleshless, a strange, 
disembodied soul; and only gradually did a curious 
realization grow that he was waiting here on the 
brink of a night darker than the black wastes of 
space from which these monster humans had come. 

Consciousness came of kinship with the black 
rain that poured with such solid, noiseless power 
against the glinting panes. For soon, he would 

be part of the inorganic darkness — a shadowed 
figure sprawling sightlessly in this dim room. 

His aimless gaze returned to the recorder ma- 
chine, and to the grim man who stood so thought- 
fully, staring down at the words it was unfolding. 

His thought quickened. His life, that had been 
pressed so shockingly out of his system by the 
sentence of death, quivered forth. He straight- 
ened, physically and mentally. And, suddenly, 
there was purpose in him. 

It death was inescapable, at least he could try 
again, somehow, to knock down that “General Re- 
lease" key. He stared at the key, measuring the 
distance; and the gray thought came: What in- 
credible irony that he should die, that he should 
waste his effort, to prevent the Dreeghs from hav- 
ing this minute information that was available 
from ten thousand sources. And yet — 

The purpose remained. Three feet, he thought 
carefully, perhaps four. It he should fling himself 
toward it, how could even a Dreegh prevent the 
dead weight of his body and his extended fingers 
from accomplishing such a simple, straightforward 

After all, his sudden action had once before frus- 
trated the Dreeghs, permitting the Ungarn girl — 
in spite of her denials — to get her gun into posi- 
tion for firing. And — 

He grew rigid as he saw that the Dreegh was 
turning away from the machine. The man pursed 
his lips, but it was the woman, Merla, who spoke 
from where she stood in the gloom: 


The man frowned. "The exact location is no- 
where on record. Apparently, there has been no 
development of meteorites in this system. I sus- 
pected as much. After all, space travel has only 
existed a hundred years; and the new planets and 
the moons of Jupiter have absorbed all the ener- 
gies of exploring, exploiting man.” 

“I could have told you that," said Leigh. 

If he could move a little to one side of the re- 
corder, so that the Dreegh would have to do more 
than simply put his arm out — 

The man waB saying: ‘‘There is, however, a 
reference to some man who transports food and 
merchandise from the moon Europa to the Un- 
garns. We will . . . er . . . persuade this man to 
show us the way." 

“One of these days," said Leigh, "you’re going 
to discover that all human beings cannot be per- 
suaded. What pressure are you going to put on 
this chap? Suppose he hasn’t got a mother." 

"He has — life!" said the woman, softly. 

“One look at you,” Leigh snapped, “and he'd 
know that he’d lose that, anyway.” 

As he spoke, he stepped with enormous casual- 
ness to the left, one short step. He had a violent 
impulse to say something, anything to cover the 
action. But his voice had betrayed him once. 



And actually it might already have done so again. 
The cold face of the man was almost too enigmatic. 

“We could,” said the woman, “use William 
Leigh to persuade him.” 

The words were softly spoken, but they shocked 
Leigh to his bones. For they offered a distorted 
hope. And that shattered his will to action. His 
purpose faded into remoteness. Almost grimly, 
he fought to draw that hard determination back 
into his consciousness. He concentrated his gaze 
on the recorder machine, but the woman was speak- 
ing again; and his mind wouldn't hold anything 
except the urgent meaning of her words: 

"He is too valuable a slave to destroy. We can 
always take his blood and energy, but now we 
must send him to Europa, there to find the 
freighter pilot of the Ungarns, and actually ac- 
company him to the Ungarn meteorite. If he 
could investigate the interior, our attack might 
conceivably be simplified, and there is just a pos- 
sibility that there might be new weapons, of which 
we should be informed. We must not underesti- 
mate the science of the great Galactics. 

“Naturally, before we allowed Leigh his free- 
dom, we would do a little tampering with his mind, 
and so blot out from his conscious mind all that 
has happened in this hotel room. 

“The identification of Professor Ungarn as the 
Galactic Observer we would make plausible for 
Leigh by a little rewriting of his psychograph re- 
port; and tomorrow he will waken in his bed with 
a new purpose, based on some simple human im- 
pulse such as love of the girl.” 

The very fact that the Dreegh, Jeel, was allow- 
ing her to go on, brought the first, faint color to 
Leigh’s cheeks, a thin flush at the enormous series 
of betrayals she was so passionately expecting 
of him. Nevertheless, so weak was his resistance 
to the idea of continued life, that he could only 

“If you think I'm going to fall in love with a 
dame who’s got twice my I. Q., you’re — ” 

The woman cut him off. “Shut up, you fool! 
Can’t you see I’ve saved your life?” 

The man was cold, ice-cold. “Yes, we shall use 
him, not because he is essential, but because we 
have time to search for easier victories. The first 
members of the Dreegh tribe will not arrive for a 
month and a half, and it will take Mr. Leigh a 
month of that to get to the moon, Europa, by one 
of Earth’s primitive passenger liners. Fortunately, 
the nearest Galactic military base is well over 
three months distant — by Galactic ship speeds. 

“Finally” — with a disconcerting, tigerish swift- 
ness, the Dreegh whirled full upon Leigh, eyes 
that were like pools of black fire measured his 
own startled stare — “finally, as a notable reminder 
to your subconscious of the error of trickery, and 

as complete punishment for past and — intended — 
offenses, this!” 

Despairingly, Leigh twisted away from the 
metal that glowed at him. His muscles tried hor- 
ribly to carry out the purpose that had been work- 
ing to a crisis inside him. He lunged for the re- 
corder — but something caught his body. Some- 
thing — not physical. But the very pain seemed 

There was no visible flame of energy, only that 
glow at the metal source. But his nerves writhed ; 
enormous forces contorted his throat muscles, 
froze the scream that quivered there, hideously. 

His whole being welcomed the blackness that 
came mercifully to blot out the hellish pain. . 


On the third day, Europa began to give up some 
of the sky to the vast mass of Jupiter behind it. 
The engines that so imperfectly transformed mag- 
netic attraction to a half-hearted repulsion func- 
tioned more and more smoothly as the infinite com- 
plication of pull and counterpull yielded to dis- 

The old, slow, small freighter scurried on into 
the immense, enveloping night; and the days 
dragged into weeks, the weeks crawled their drab 
course toward the full month. 

On the thirty-seventh day, the sense of slowing 
up was so distinct that Leigh crept dully out of 
his bunk, and croaked: 

“How much farther?" 

He was aware of the stolid-faced space trucker 



grinning at him. The man’s name was Hanardy, 
and he said now matter-of-factly : 

“We're just pulling in. See that spot of light 
over to the left? It’s moving this way.” 

He ended with a rough sympathy. “Been a tough 
trip, eh? Tougher ’n you figgered when you offered 
to write up my little route for your big syndicate.” 

Leigh scarcely heard. He was clawing at the 
porthole, straining to penetrate the blackness. At 
first his eyes kept blinking on him, and nothing 
came. Stars were out there, but it was long sec- 
onds before his bleary gaze made out moving 
lights. He counted them with sluggish puzzle- 
ment : 

“One, two, three — seven — " he counted. “And 
all traveling •together.” 

“What’s that?” Hanardy bent beside him. 

There was a brief silence between them, as the 
lights grew visibly dim with distance, and winked 

“Too bad," Leigh ventured, “that Jupiter's be- 
hind us. They mightn’t fade out like that in 
silhouette. Which one was Ungarn’s meteorite?" 

With a shock, he grew aware that Hanardy was 
standing. The man’s heavy face was dark with 
frown. Hanardy said slowly: 

“Those were ships. I never saw ships go so 
fast before. They were out of sight in less than 
a minute." 

The frown faded from his stolid face. He 
shrugged. “Some of those new police ships, I 
guess. And we must have seen them from a funny 
angle for them to disappear so fast." 

Leigh half sat, half knelt, frozen into immo- 
bility. And after that one swift glance at the 
pilot’s rough face, he averted his own. For a mo- 
ment, the black fear was in him that his wild 
thoughts would blaze from his eyes. 

Dreeghs! Two and a half months had wound 
their appallingly slow course since the murders. 
More than a month to get from Earth to Europa, 
and now this miserable, lonely journey with Han- 
ardy, the man who trucked for the Ungarns. 

Every day of that time, he had known with an 
inner certainty that none of this incredible busi- 
ness had gone backward. That it could only have 
assumed a hidden, more dangerous form. The one 
fortunate reality in the whole mad affair was that 
he had wakened on the morning after the mechani- 
cal psychologist test from a dreamless sleep; and 
there in the psychograph report was the identifica- 
tion of Ungarn as the Observer, and the statement, 
borne out by an all too familiar emotional tension, 
that he was in love with the girl. 

Now thisl His mind flared. Dreeghs in seven 
ships. That meant the first had been reinforced 
by — many. And perhaps the seven were only a 

reconnaissance group, withdrawing at Hanardy’s 

Or perhaps those fantastic murderers had al- 
ready attacked the Observer’s base. Perhaps the 

He fought the desperate thought out of his con- 
sciousness, and watched, frowning, as the Ungarn 
meteorite made a dark, glinting path in the black- 
ness to one side. The two objects, the ship and 
the bleak, rough-shaped mass of metallic stone 
drew together in the night, the ship slightly be- 

A great steel door slid open in the rock. Skill- 
fully, the ship glided into the chasm. There was 
a noisy clicking. Hanardy came out of the control 
room, his face dark with puzzlement. 

“Those damn ships are out there again," he said. 
“I’ve closed the big steel locks, but I’d better tell 
the professor and — ” 

Crash! The world jiggled. The floor came up 
and hit Leigh a violent blow. He lay there, cold 
in spite of the thoughts that burned at fire heat, 
in his mind : 

For some reason, the vampires had waited until 
the freighter was inside. Then instantly, fero- 
ciously, attacked. 

In packs! 

“Hanardy!" A vibrant girl's voice blared from 
one of the loud-speakers. 

The pilot sat up shakily on the floor, where he 
had fallen, near Leigh. “Yes, Miss Patricia." 

“You dared to bring a stranger with you!" 

“It’s only a reporter, miss; he’s writing up my 
route for me." 

“You conceited fool! That’s William Leigh. 
He’s a hypnotized spy of those devils who are at- 
tacking us. Bring him immediately to my apart- 
ments. He must be killed at once.” 

“Huh!” Leigh began; and then slowly he began 
to stiffen. For the pilot was staring at him from 
narrowing eyes, all the friendliness gone from his 
rough, heavy face. Finally, Leigh laughed curtly. 

“Don’t you be a fool, too, Hanardy. I made the 
mistake once of saving that young lady’s life, and 
she’s hated me ever since.” 

The heavy face scowled at him. “So you knew 
her before, eh? You didn’t tell me, that. You'd 
better come along before I sock you one.” 

Almost awkwardly, he drew the gun from his 
side holster, and pointed its ugly snout at Leigh. 

“Get along!” he said. 

Hanardy reached toward a tiny arrangement of 
lights beside the paneled door of Patricia Ungarn’s 
apartment — and Leigh gave one leap, one blow. 
He caught the short, heavy body as it fell, grabbed 
at the sagging gun, lowered the dead weight to 
the floor of the corridor; and then, for a grim, 
tense moment, he stood like a great animal, strain- 
ing for sound. 



Silence! He studied the bland panels of the 
doorway to the apartment, as if by sheer, savage 
intentness he would penetrate their golden, beauti- 
fully grained opaqueness. 

It was the silence that struck him again after 
a moment, the emptiness of the long, tunnellike 
corridors. He thought, amazed : Was it possible 
father and daughter actually lived here without 
companions or servants or any human association? 
And that they had some idea that they could with- 
stand the attack of the mighty and terrible 

They had a lot of stuff here, of course: Earth- 
like gravity and — and, by Heaven, he’d better get 
going before the girl acquired impatience and came 
out with one of her fancy weapons. What he must 
do was quite simple, unconnected with any non- 
sense of spying, hypnotic or otherwise. 

He must find the combination automobile-space- 
ship in which — Mr. Patrick — had escaped him that 
night after they left Constantine's. And with that 
tiny ship, he must try to slip out of Ungarn’s 
meteorite, sneak through the Dreegh line, and so 
head back for Earth. 

What a fool he had been, a mediocre human be- 
ing, mixing in such fast, brainy company. The 
world was full of more normal, thoroughly dumb 
girls. Why in hell wasn’t he safely married to one 
of them and — and damn it, it was time he got busy. 

He began laboriously to drag Hanardy along the 
smooth flooring. Halfway to the nearest corner, 
the man stirred. Instantly, quite coolly, Leigh 
struck him with the revolver butt, hard. This was 
not time for squeamishness. 

The pilot dropped: and the rest was simple. He 
deserted the body as soon as he had pulled it out 
of sight behind the corner, and raced along the 
hallway, trying doors. The first four wouldn't 
open. At the fifth, he pulled up in a dark con- 

It was impossible that the whole place was 
locked up. Two people in an isolated meteorite 
wouldn’t go around perpetually locking and un- 
locking doors. There must be a trick catch. 

There was. The fifth door yielded to a simple 
pressure on a tiny, half-hidden push button, that 
had seemed an integral part of the design of the 
latch. He stepped through the entrance, then 
started back in brief, terrible shock. 

The room had no ceiling. Above him was — 
space. An ice-cold blast of air swept at him. 

He had a flashing glimpse of gigantic machines 
in the room, machines that dimly resembled the 
ultramodern astronomical observatory on the moon 
that he had visited on opening day two days be- 
fore. That one, swift look was all Leigh allowed 
himself. Then he stepped back into the hallway. 
The door of the observatory closed automatically 
in his face. 

He stood there, chagrined. Silly fool ! The very 

fact that cold air had blown at him showed that the 
open effect of the ceiling was only an illusion of 
invisible glass. Good Lord, in that room might 
be wizard ttlescopes that could see to the stars. 
Or — an ugly thrill raced along his spine — he might 
have seen the Dreeghs attacking. 

He shook out of his system the brief, abnormal 
desire to look again. This was no time for dis- 
tractions. For, by now, the girl must know that 
something was wrong. 

At top speed, Leigh ran to the sixth door. It 
opened into a little cubbyhole. A blank moment 
passed before he recogriized what it was. 

An elevator! 

He scrambled in. The farther he got away from 
the residential floor, the less the likelihood of 
quick discovery. 

He turned to close the door, and saw that it was 
shutting automatically. It clicked softly; the ele- 
vator immediately began to go up. Piercingly 
sharp doubt came to Leigh. The machine was ap- 
parently geared to go to some definite point. And 
that could be very bad. 

His eyes searched hastily for controls. But 
nothing was visible. Gun poised, he stood grim 
and alert, as the elevator stopped. The door slid 

Leigh stared. There was no room. The door 
opened — onto blackness. 

Not the blacknesB of space with its stars. Or 
a dark room, half revealed by the light from the 
elevator. But — blackness! 


Leigh put a tentative hand forward, half expect- 
ing to feel a solid object. But as his hand entered 
the black area, it vanished. He jerked it backhand 
stared at it, dismayed. It shone with a light of its 
own, all the bones plainly visible. 

Swiftly, the light faded, the skin became opaque, 
but his whole arm pulsed with a pattern of pain. 

The stark, terrible thought came that this could 
be a death chamber. After all. the elevator had 
deliberately brought him here; it might not have 
been automatic. Outside forces could have di- 
rected it. True, he had stepped in of his own free 
will, but — 

Fool, fool! 

He laughed bitterly, braced himself — and then 
it happened. 

There was a flash out of the blackness. Some- 
thing that sparkled vividly, something material 
that blazed a brilliant path to his forehead — and 
drew itself inside his head. And then — 

He was no longer in the elevator. On either 
side of him stretched a long corridor. The stocky 
Hanardy was just reaching for some tiny lights 
beside the door of Patricia Ungarn’s apartment. 

The man’s fingers touched one of the lights. It 
dimmed. Softly, the door opened. A young woman 


with proud, insolent eyes and a queenlike bearing 
stood there. 

“Father wants you down on Level 4,” she said 
to Hanardy. “One of the energy screens has gone 
down; and he needs some machine work before 
he can put up another.” 

She turned to Leigh; her voice took on metallic 
overtones as she said : “Mr. Leigh, you can 

come in!” 

The crazy part of it was that he walked in with 
scarcely a physical tremor. A cool breeze caressed 
his cheeks; and there was the liltinglv sweet sound 
of birds singing in the distance. Leigh stood stock- 
still for a moment after he had entered, dazed 
partly by the wonders of the room and the unbe- 
lievable sunlit garden beyond the French windows, 
partly by — what? 

What had happened to him ? 

Gingerly, he put his hands to his head, and felt 
his forehead, then his whole head. But nothing 
was wrong, not a contusion, not a pain. He grew 
aware of the girl staring at him, and realization 
came that his actions must seem unutterably queer. 

“What is the matter with you?” the girl asked. 

Leigh looked at her with abrupt, grim suspicion. 
He snapped harshly: “Don’t pull that innocent 
stuff. I've been up in the blackness room, and all 
I've got to say is, if you’re going to kill me, don't 
skulk behind artificial night and other trickery." 

The girl’s eyes, he saw, were narrowed, unpleas- 
antly cold. “I don't know what you’re trying to 
pretend,” she said icily. “I assure you it will 
not postpone the death we have to deal you.” 

She hesitated, then finished sharply : "The what 

Leigh explained grimly, puzzled by her puzzle- 
ment, then annoyed by the contemptuous smile 
that grew into her face. She cut him off curtly: 

"I’ve never heard a less balanced story. If your 
intention was to astound me and delay your death 
with that improbable tale, it has failed. You must 
be mad. You didn’t knock out Hanardy, because 
when I opened the door, Hanardy was there, and 
I sent him down to father.” 

“See here!” Leigh began. He stopped wildly. 
By Heaven, Hanardy had been there as she opened 
the door! 

And yet earlier — 


Doggedly, Leigh pushed the thought on: 
Earlier, he had attacked Hanardy. And then he — 
Leigh — had gone up in an elevator; and then, 
somehow, back and — 

Shakily, he felt his head again. And it was ab- 
solutely normal. Only, he thought, there was 
something inside it that sparkled. 

Something — 

With a start, he grew aware that the girl was 
quite deliberately drawing a gun from a pocket of 

her simple white dress. He stared at the weapon, 
and before its gleaming menace, his thoughts 
faded, all except the deadly consciousness that 
what he had said had delayed her several minutes 
now. It was the only thing that could delay her 
further until, somehow — 

The vague hope wouldn’t finish. Urgently, he 

“I’m going to assume you’re genuinely puzzled 
by my words. Let’s begin at the beginning. 
There is such a room, is there not?” 

"Please,” said the girl wearily, “let us not have 
any of your logic. My I. Q. is 243, yours is 112. 
So I assure you I am quite capable of reasoning 
from any beginning you can think of.” 

She went on, her low voice as curt as the sound 
of struck steel : “There is no ‘blackness’ room, 

as you call it, no sparkling thing that crawls inside 
a human head. There is but one fact: The 

Dreeghs in their visit to your hotel room, hypno- 
tized you; and this curious mind illusion can only 
be a result of that hypnotism — don’t argue with 

With a savage gesture of her gun, she cut off 
his attempt to speak. “There’s no time. For some 
reason, the Dreeghs did something to you. Why? 
What did you see in those rooms?” 

Even as he explained and described, Leigh was 
thinking chilly: 

He'd have to catch hold of himself, get a plan, 
however risky, and carry it through. The purpose 
was tight and cold in his mind as he obeyed her 
motion, and went ahead of her into the corridor. 
It was there, an icy determination, as he counted 
the doors from the corner where he had left the 
unconscious Hanardy. 

“One, two, three, four, five. This door!” he 

“Open it!” the girl gestured. 

He did so ; and his lower jaw sagged. He was 
staring into a fine, cozy room filled with shelf on 
shelf of beautifully bound books. There were 
comfortable chairs, a magnificent rag rug and — 

It was the girl who closed the door firmly and — 
he trembled with the tremendousness of the op- 
portunity— she walked ahead of him to the sixth 

“And this is your elevator?” 

Leigh nodded mutely; and because his whole 
body was shaking, he was only dimly surprised 
that there was no elevator, but a long, empty, 
silent corridor. 

The girl was standing with her back partly to 
him; and if he hit her, it would knock her hard 
against the door jamb and — 

The sheer brutality of the thought was what 
stopped him, held him for the barest second — as 
the girl whirled, and looked straight into his eyes. 

Her gun was up, pointing steadily. “Not that 



way,” she said quietly. “For a moment I was wish- 
ing you would have the nerve to try it. But, after 
all, that would be the weak way for me.” 

Her eyes glowed with a fierce pride. “After all, 
I’ve killed before through necessity, and hated it. 
You can see yourself that, because of what the 
Dreeghs have done to you, it is necessary. So — ” 

Her voice took on a whiplash quality. “So back 
to my rooms. I have a space lock there to get rid 
of your body. Get going!” 

It was the emptiness, the silence except for the 
faint click of their shoes that caught at Leigh’s 
nerves, as he walked hopelessly back to the apart- 
ment. This meteorite hurtling darkly through the 
remote wastes of the Solar System, pursued and 
attacked by deadly ships from the fixed stars, and 
himself inside it, under sentence of death, the 
executioner to be a girl — 

And that was the devastating part. He couldn’t 
begin to argue with this damnable young woman, 
for every word would sound like pleading. The 
very thought of mentally getting down on his 
knees to any woman was paralyzing. 

The singing of the birds, as he entered the 
apartment, perked him violently out of his black 
passion. Abruptly marveling, he walked to the 
stately French windows, and stared at the glori- 
ous summery garden. 

At least two acres of green wonder spread before 
him, a blaze of flowers, trees where gorgeously 
colored birds fluttered and trilled, a wide, deep 
pool of green, green water, and over all, the glory 
of brilliant sunshine. 

It was the sunshine that held Leigh finally; and 
he stood almost breathless for a long minute before 
it seemed that he had the solution. He said in a 
hushed voice, without turning: 

“The roof — is an arrangement — of magnifying 
glass. It makes the Sun as big as on Earth. Is 
that the — ” 

"You'd better turn around,” came the hostile, 
vibrant voice from behind him. “I don’t shoot 
people in the back. And I want to get this over 

It was the moralistic smugness of her words that 
shook every muscle in Leigh’s body. He whirled, 
and raged: 

“You damned little Klugg. You can’t shoot me 
in the back, eh? Oh, no! And you couldn't pos- 
sibly shoot me while I was attacking you because 
that would be the weak way. It’s all got to be 
made right with your conscience.” 

He stopped so short that, if he had been running 
instead of talking, he would have stumbled. 
Figuratively, almost literally, he saw Patricia Un- 
garn for the first time since his arrival. His mind 
had been so concentrated, so absorbed by deadly 
things that — 

— For the first time as a woman. 

Leigh drew a long breath. Dressed as a man, 
she had been darkly handsome in an extremely 
youthful fashion. Now she wore a simple, snow- 
white sports dress. It was scarcely more than a 
tunic, and came well above her knees. 

Her hair shone with a brilliant brownness, and 
cascaded down to her shoulders. Her bare arms 
and legs gleamed a deep, healthy tan. Sandals 
pure white graced her feet. Her face — 

The impression of extraordinary beauty yielded 
to the amazing fact that her perfect cheeks were 
flushing vividly. The girl snapped: 

“Don't you dare use that word to me.” 

She must have been utterly beside herself. Her 
fury was such an enormous fact that Leigh 
gasped; and he couldn’t have stopped himself from 
saying what he did, if the salvation of his soul 
had depended on it. 

“Klugg!" he said, “Klugg, Klugg, Klugg! So 
you realize now that the Dreeghs had you down 
pat, that all your mighty pretensions was simply 
your Klugg mind demanding pretentious com- 
pensation for a dreary, lonely life. You had to 
think you were somebody, and yet all the time 
you must have known they’d only ship the tenth- 
raters to these remote posts. Klugg, not even 
Lennel; the Dreegh woman wouldn’t even grant 
you Lennel status, whatever that is. And she’d 
know. Because if you’re I. Q. 243, the Dreeghs 
were 400. You’ve realized that, too, haven’t you?” 
“Shut up! Or I’ll kill you by inches!" said 
Patricia Ungarn; and Leigh was amazed to see 
that she was as white as a sheet. The astounded 
realization came that he had struck, not only the 
emotional Achilles heel of this strange and terri- 
ble young woman, but the very vital roots of her 
mental existence. 

“So,” he said deliberately, “the high morality 
is growing dim. Now you can torture me to death 
without a qualm. And to think that I came here 
to ask you to marry me because I thought a Klugg 
and a human being might get along.” 

“You what?” said the girl. Then she sneered. 
“So that was the form of .their hypnotism. They 
would use some simple impulse for a simple human 

“But now I think we’ve had just about enough. 
I know just the type of thoughts that come to a 
male human in love; and even the realization that 
you’re not responsible makes the very idea none 
the less bearable. I feel sickened, utterly insulted. 
Know, please, that my future husband is arriving 
with the reinforcements three weeks from now. 
He will be trained to take over father’s work — ’’ 
“Another Klugg!” said Leigh, and the girl 
turned shades whiter. 

Leigh stood utterly thunderstruck. In all his 
life, he had never gotten anybody going the way 
he had this young girl. The intellectual mask 


was off, and underneath was a seething mass of 
emotions bitter beyond the power of words to 
express. Here was evidence of a life so lonely that 
it strained his imagination. Her every word 
showed an incredible pent-up masochism as well 
as sadism, for she was torturing herself as well 
as him. 

And he couldn’t stop now to feel sorry for her. 
His life was at stake, and only more words could 
postpone death — or bring the swift and bearable 
surcease of a gun fired in sudden passion. He 
hammered on grimly: 

“I'd like to ask one question. How did you find 
out my I. Q. was 112? What special interest made 
you inquire about that? Is it possible that, all by 
yourself here, you, too, had a special type of 
thought, and that, though your intellect rejected 
the very idea of such lowly love, its existence is 
the mainspring behind your fantastic determina- 
tion to kill, rather than cure me? I — ” 

“That will do,” interrupted Patricia Ungarn. 

It required one lengthy moment for Leigh to 
realize that in those few short seconds she had 
pulled herself completely together. 

He stared in gathering alarm, as her gun mo- 
tioned toward a door he had not seen before. 

She said curtly: 

“I suppose there is a solution other than death. 
That is, immediate death. And I have decided to 

accept the resultant loss of my spaceship.” 

She nodded at the door: “It’s there in the air 
lock. It works very simply. The steering wheel 
pulls up or down or sideways, and that’s the way 
the ship will go. Just step on the accelerator, 
and the machine will go forward. The decelerator 
is the left pedal. The automobile wheels fold in 
automatically as soon as they lift from the floor. 

“Now, get going. I need hardly tell you that the 
Dreeghs will probably catch you. But you can’t 
stay here. That’s obvious." 

“Thanks !” That was all Leigh allowed himself 
to say. He had exploded an emotional powder keg, 
and he dared not tamper even a single word fur- 
ther. There was a tremendous psychological mys- 
tery here, but it was not for him to solve. 

Suddenly shaky from realization of what was 
still ahead of him, he walked gingerly toward the 
air lock. And then — 

It happened! 

He had a sense of unutterable nausea. There was 
a wild swaying through blackness and — 

He was standing at the paneled doorway leading 
from the corridor to Patricia Ungarn's apartment. 
Beside him stood Hanardy. The door opened. 
The young woman who stood there said strangely 
familiar words to Hanardy, about going down to 
the fourth level to fix an energy screen. Then 
she turned to Leigh, and in a voice hard and 
metallic said : 

“Mr. Leigh, you can come in.” 


The crazy part of it was that he walked in with 
scarcely a physical tremor. A cool breeze caressed 
his cheeks; and there was the liltingly sweet sound 
of birds singing in the distance. Leigh stood stock- 
still for a moment after he had entered; by sheer 
will power he emptied the terrible daze out of his 
mind, and bent, mentally, into the cyclone path of 
complete memory. Everything was there suddenly, 
the way the Dreeghs had come to his hotel apart- 
ment and ruthlessly forced him to their will, the 
way the “blackness” room had affected him, and 
how the girl had spared his life. 

For some reason, the whole scene with the girl 
had been unsatisfactory to — Jeel; and it was now, 
fantastically, to be repeated. 

That thought ended. The entire, tremendous 
reality of what had happened yielded to a vastly 
greater fact: 

There was — something — inside his head, a dis- 
tinctly physical something; and in a queer, horri- 
ble, inexperienced way, his mind was instinctively 
fighting — it. The result was ghastly confusion. 
Which hurt him, not the thing. 

Whatever it was, rested inside his head, unaf- 
fected by his brain’s feverish contortions, cold, 
aloof, watching. 




Madly, then, he realized what it was. Another 
mind. Leigh shrank from the thought as from the 
purest destroying fire. He tensed his brain. For 
a moment the frenzy of his horror was so great 
that his face twisted with the anguish of his ef- 
forts. And everything blurred. 

Exhausted finally, he simply stood there. And 
the thing-mind was still inside his head. 


What had happened to him? 

Shakily, Leigh put his hands up to his forehead; 
then he felt his whole head; there was a vague 
idea in him that if he pressed — 

He jerked his hands down with an unspoken 
curse. Damnation on damnation, he was even re- 
peating the actions of this scene. He grew aware 
of the girl staring at him. He heard her say: 

“What is the matter with you?” 

It was the sound of the words, exactly the same 
words, that did it. He smiled wryly. His mind 
drew back from the abyss, where it had teetered. 

He was sane again. 

Gloomy recognition came then that his brain 
was still a long way down; sane yes, but dispirited. 
It was only too obvious that the girl had no mem- 
ory of the previous scene, or she wouldn’t be par- 
rotting. She’d — 

That thought stopped, too. Because a strange 
thing was happening. The mind inside him 
stirred, and looked through his — Leigh’s — eyes. 
Looked intently. 


The room and the girl in it changed, not physi- 
cally, but subjectively, in what he saw, in the — 

Details burned at him; furniture and design that 
a moment before had seemed a flowing, artistic 
whole, abruptly showed flaws, hideous errors in 
taste and arrangement and structure. 

His gaze flashed out to the garden, and in in- 
stants tore it to mental shreds. Never in all his 
existence had he seen or felt criticism on such a 
high, devastating scale. Only — 

Only it wasn’t criticism. Actually. The mind 
was indifferent. It saw things. Automatically, it 
saw some of the possibilities; and by comparison 
the reality suffered. 

It was not a matter of anything being hopelessly 
bad. The wrongness was frequently a subtle 
thing. Birds not suited, for a dozen reasons, to 
their environment. Shrubs that added infinitesi- 
mal discord not harmony to the superb garden. 

The mind flashed back from the garden; and 
this time, for the first time, studied the girl. 

On all Earth, no woman had ever been so pierc- 
ingly examined. The structure of her body and 
her face, to Leigh so finely, proudly shaped, so 
gloriously patrician — found low grade now. 

An excellent example of low-grade development 
in isolation. 

That was the thought, not contemptuous, not 
derogatory, simply an impression by an appal- 
lingly direct mind that saw — overtones, realities 
behind realities, a thousand facts where one 

There followed crystal-clear awareness of the 
girl’s psychology, objective admiration for the 
system of isolated upbringing that made Klugg 
girls such fine breeders; and then — 


Instantly carried out. Leigh took three swift 
steps toward the girl. He was aware of her snatch- 
ing at the gun in her pocket, and there was the 
sheerest startled amazement on her face. Then he 
had her. 

Her muscles writhed like steel springs. But they 
were hopeless against his superstrength, his super- 
speed. He tied her with some wire he had noticed 
in a half-opened clothes closet. 

Then he stepped back, and to Leigh came the 
shocked personal thought of the incredible thing 
that had happened, comprehension that all this, 
which seemed so normal, was actually so devastat- 
ingly superhuman, so swift that — seconds only had 
passed since he came into the room. 

Private thought ended. He grew aware of the 
mind, contemplating what it had done, and what 
it must do before the meteorite would be com- 
pletely under control. 

Vampire victory was near. 

There was a phase of walking along empty 
corridors, down several flights of stairs. The 
vague, dull thought came to Leigh, his own per- 
sonal thought, that the Dreegh seemed to know 
completely the interior of the meteorite. 

Somehow, during the periods of — transition, of 
time manipulation, the creature-mind must have 
used his, Leigh’s, body to explore the vast tomb 
of a place thoroughly. And now, with utter sim- 
plicity of purpose — he was heading for the ma- 
chine shops on the fourth level, where Professor 
Ungarn and Hanardy labored to put up another 
energy defense screen. 

He found Hanardy alone, working at a lathe 
that throbbed — and the sound made it easy to 
sneak up — 

The professor was in a vast room, where great 
engines hummed a strange, deep tune of titanic 
power. He was a tall man, and his back was 
turned to the door, as Leigh entered. 

But he was immeasurably quicker than Hanardy, 
quicker even than the girl. He sensed danger. 
He whirled with a catlike agility. Literally. And 
succumbed instantly to muscles that could have 
torn him limb from limb. It was during the bind- 
ing of the man’s hands that Leigh had time for an 



In the photographs that Leigh had seen, as he 
had told the Dreegh, Merla, in the hotel, the pro- 
fessor’s face had been sensitive, tired-looking, 
withal noble. He was more than that, tremen- 
dously more. 

The man radiated power, as no photograph could 
show it, good power in contrast to the savage, 
malignant, immensely greater power of the 

The sense of power faded before the aura of — 
weariness. Cosmic weariness. It was a lined, an 
amazingly lined face. In a flash, Leigh remem- 
bered what the Dreegh woman had said; and it was 
all there: deep-graven lines of tragedy and untold 
mental suffering, interlaced with a curious peace- 
fulness, like — resignation. 

On that night months ago. he had asked the 
Dreegh woman: Resignation to what? And now, 
here in this tortured, kindly face was the answer : 

Resignation to hell. 

Queerly, an unexpected second answer trickled 
in his mind: Morons; they’re Galactic morons. 


The thought seemed to have no source; but it 
gathered with all the fury of a storm. Professor 
Ungarn and his daughter were Kluggs, morons in 
the incredible Galactic sense. No wonder the girl 
had reacted like a crazy person. Obviously born 
here, she must have only guessed the truth in the 
last two months. 

The I. Q. of human morons wavered between 
seventy-five and ninety, of Kluggs possibly be- 
tween two hundred and twenty-five and, say, two 
hundred and forty-three. 

Two hundred and forty-three. What kind of 
civilization was this Galactic — if Dreeghs were 
four hundred and — 

Somebody, of course, had to do the dreary, 
routine work of civilization; and Kluggs and Len- 
nels and their kind were obviously elected. No 
wonder they looked like morons with that weight 
of inferiority to influence their very nerve and 
muscle structure. No wonder whole planets were 
kept in ignorance — 

Leigh left the professor tied hand and foot, and 
began to turn off power switches. Some of the 
great motors were slowing noticeably as he went 
out of that mighty engine room; the potent hum 
of power dimmed. 

Back in the girl’s room, he entered the air lock, 
climbed into the small automobile spaceship — and 
launched into the night. 

Instantly, the gleaming mass of meteorite re- 
ceded into the darkness behind him. Instantly, 
magnetic force rays caught his tiny craft, and 
drew it remorselessly toward the hundred and fifty 
foot, cigar-shaped machine that flashed out of the 

He felt the spy rays; and he must have been 

recognized. For another ship flashed up to claim 

Air locks opened noiselessly — and shut. Sickly, 
Leigh stared at the two Dreeghs, the tall man and 
the tall woman; and, as from a great distance, 
heard himself explaining what he had done. 

Dimly, hopelessly, he wondered why he should 
have to explain. Then he heard Jeel say: 

“Merla, this is the most astoundingly successful 
case of hypnotism in our existence. He’s done — 
everything. Even the tiniest thoughts we put into 
his mind have been carried out to the letter. And 
the proof is, the screens are going down. With 
the control of this station, we can hold out even 
after the Galactic warships arrive — and fill our 
tankers and our energy reservoirs for ten thousand 
years. Do you hear, ten thousand years?" 

His excitement died. He smiled with sudden, 
dry understanding as he looked at the woman. 
Then he said laconically: 

"My dear, the reward is all yours. We could 
have broken down those screens in another twelve 
hours, but it would have meant the destruction of 
the meteorite. This victory is so much greater. 
Take your reporter. Satisfy your craving — while 
the rest of us prepare for the occupation. Mean- 
while, I’ll tie him up for you.” 

Leigh thought, a cold, remote thought: The 
kiss of death — 

He shivered in sudden, appalled realization of 
what he had done — 

He lay on the couch, where Jeel had tied him. 
He was surprised, after a moment, to notice that, 
though the mind had withdrawn into the back- 
ground of his brain — it was still there, cold, steely, 
abnormally conscious. 

The wonder came: what possible satisfaction 
could Jeel obtain from experiencing the mortal 
thrill of death with him? These people were ut- 
terly abnormal, of course, but — 

The wonder died like dry grass under a heat 
ray, as the woman came into the room, and glided 
toward him. She smiled; she sat down on the 
edge of the couch. 

“So here you are," she said. 

She was, Leigh thought, like a tigress. There 
was purpose in every cunning muscle of her long 
body. In surprise he saw that she had changed 
her dress. She wore a sleek, flimsy, sheeny, tight- 
fitting gown that set off in startling fashion her 
golden hair and starkly white face. Utterly fasci- 
nated, he watched her. Almost automatically, he 
said : 

“Yes, I’m here.” 

Silly words. But he didn’t feel silly. Tenseness 
came the moment he had spoken. It was her eyes 
that did it. For the first time since he had first 
seen her. her eyes struck him like a blow. Blue 
eyes, and steady. So steady. Not the steady 



frankness of honesty. But steady — like dead eyes. 

A chill grew on Leigh, a special, extra chill, 
adding to the ice that was already there inside 
him; and the unholy thought came that this was 
a dead woman — artificially kept alive by the blood 
and life of dead men and women. 

She smiled, but the bleakness remained in those 
cold, fish eyes. No smile, no warmth could ever 
bring light to that chill, beautiful countenance. 
But she smiled the form of a smile, and she said: 

"We Dreeghs live a hard, lonely life. So lonely 
that sometimes I cannot help thinking our strug- 
gle to remain alive is a blind, mad thing. We’re 
what we are through no fault of our own. It 
happened during an interstellar flight that took 
place a million years ago — ” 

She stopped, almost hopelessly. “It seems 
longer. It must be longer. I've really lost track.” 

She went on, suddenly grim, as if the memory, 
the very telling, brought a return of horror: “We 
were among several thousand holidayers who were 
caught in the gravitational pull of a sun, after- 
ward called the Dreegh sun. 

“Its rays, immensely dangerous to human life, 
infected us all. It was discovered that only con- 
tinuous blood tranfusions, and the life force of 
other human beings could save us. For a while we 
received donations; then the government decided 
to have us destroyed as hopeless incurables. 

"We were all young, terribly young and in love 
with life; some hundreds of us had been expecting 
the sentence, and we still had friends in the be- 
ginning. We escaped, and we’ve been fighting 
ever since to stay alive.” 

And still he could feel no sympathy. It was 
odd, for all the thoughts she urrdoubtedly wanted 
him to have, came. Picture of a bleak, endless 
existence in spaceships, staring out into the per- 
petual night; all life circumscribed by the tireless, 
abnormal needs of bodies gone mad from ravenous 

It was all there, all the emotional pictures. But 
no emotions came. She was too cold; the years 
and that devil's hunt had stamped her soul and 
her eyes and her face. 

And besides, her body seemed tenser now, lean- 
ing toward him, bending forward closer, closer, 
till he could hear her slow, measured breathing. 
Even her eyes suddenly held the vaguest inner 
light — her whole being quivered with the chill 
tensity of her purpose; when she spoke, she almost 
breathed the words: 

“I want you to kiss me, and don’t be afraid. I 
shall keep you alive for days, but I must have re- 
sponse, not passivity. You’re a bachelor, at least 
thirty. You won’t have any more morals about 
the matter than I. But you must let your whole 
body yield.” 

He didn’t believe it. Her face hovered six inches 

above his; and there was such a ferocity of sup- 
pressed eagerness in her that it could only mean 

Her lips were pursed, as if to suck, and they 
quivered with a strange, tense, trembling desire, 
utterly unnatural, almost obscene. Her nostrils 
dilated at every breath — and no normal woman who 
had kissed as often as she must have in all her 
years could feel like that, if that was all she ex- 
pected to get. 

“Quick!” she said breathlessly. “Yield, yield!” 

Leigh scarcely heard; for that other mind that 
had been lingering in his brain, surged forward 
in its incredible way. He heard himself say: 

“I’ll trust your promise because I can’t resist 
such an appeal. You can kiss your head off. I 
guess I can stand it — ” 

There was a blue flash, an agonizing burning 
sensation that spread in a flash to every nerve of 
his body. 

The anguish became a series of tiny pains, like 
small needles piercing a thousand bits of his flesh. 
Tingling, writhing a little, amazed that he was 
still alive, Leigh opened his eyes. 

He felt a wave of purely personal surprise. 

The woman lay slumped, lips half twisted off of 
his, body collapsed hard across his chest. And the 
mind, that blazing mind was there, watching — as 
the tall figure of the Dreegh man sauntered into 
the room, stiffened, and then darted forward. 

He jerked her limp form into his arms. There 
was the same kind of blue flash as their lips met, 
from the man to the woman. She stirred finally, 
moaning. He shook her brutally. 

“You wr-jtched fool!” he raged. “How did you 
let a thing like that happen? You would have 
been dead in another minute, if I hadn’t come 

“I — don’t — know." Her voice was thin and old. 
She sank down to the floor at his feet, and slumped 
there like a tired old woman. Her blond hair strag- 
gled, and looked curiously faded. “I don’t know, 
Jeel. I tried to get his life force, and he got mine 
instead. He — ” 

She stopped. Her blue eyes widened. She stag- 
gered to her feet. “Jeel, he must be a spy. No 
human being could do a thing like that to me. 

“Jeel” — there was sudden terror in her voice — 
“Jeel, get out of this room. Don’t you realize? 
He’s got my energy in him. He’s lying there now, 
and whatever has control of him has my energy to 
work with — ” 

“All right, all right.” He patted her fingers. 
“I assure you he’s only a human being. And he’s 
got your energy. You made a mistake, and the 
flow went the wrong way. But it would take much 
more than that for anyone to use a human body 
successfully against us. So — ” 

"You don’t understand!” 



Her voice shook. “Jeel, I’ve been cheating. I 
don’t know what got into me, but I couldn’t get 
enough life force. Every time I was able, during 
the four times we stayed on Earth, I sneaked out. 

"I caught men on the street. I don’t know ex- 
actly how many because I dissolved their bodies 
after I was through with them. But there were 
dozens. And he’s got all the energy I collected, 
enough for scores of years, enough for — don’t you 
see? — enough for them." 

“My dear!’’ The Dreegh shook her violently, 
as a doctor would an hysterical woman. “For a 
million years, the great ones of Galactic have 
ignored us and — ” 

He paused. A black frown twisted his long face. 
He whirled like the tiger man he was, snatching 
at his gun — as Leigh stood up. 

The man Leigh was no longer surprised at — 
anything. At the way the hard cords fell rotted 
from his wrists and legs. At the way the Dreegh 
froze rigid after one look into his eyes. For the 
first shock of the tremendous, the almost cata- 
clysmic truth was already in him. 

“There is only one difference,” said Leigh in a 
voice so vibrant that the top of his head shivered 
from the unaccustomed violence of sound. “This 
time there are two hundred and twenty-seven 
Dreegh ships gathered in one concentrated area. 
The rest — and our records show only a dozen 
others — we can safely leave to our police patrols." 

The Great Galactic, who had been William 
Leigh, smiled darkly and walked toward his cap- 
tives. “It has been a most interesting experiment 
in deliberate splitting of personality. Three years 
ago, our time manipulators showed this oppor- 
tunity of destroying the Dreeghs, who hitherto 
had escaped by reason of the vastness of our 

“And so I came to Earth, and here built up the 
character of William Leigh, reporter, complete 
with family and past history. It was necessary 
to withdraw into a special compartment of the 
brain some nine-tenths of my mind, and to drain 
completely an equal percentage of life energy. 

“That was the difficulty. How to replace that 
energy in sufficient degree at the proper time, 
without playing the role of vampire. I constructed 
a number of energy caches, but naturally at no 
time had we been able to see all the future. We 
could not see the details of what was to transpire 
aboard this ship, or in my hotel room that night 
you came, or under Constantine’s restaurant. 

“Besides, if I had possessed full energy as I 
approached this ship, your spy ray would have 
registered it; and you would instantly have de- 
stroyed my small automobile-spaceship. 

“My first necessity, accordingly, was to come to 
the meteorite, and obtain an initial control over 
my own body through the medium of what my 

Earth personality called the ‘blackness’ room. 

“That Earth personality offered unexpected dif- 
ficulties. In three years it had gathered momen- 
tum as a personality, and that impetus made it nec- 
essary to repeat a scene with Patricia Ungarn, and 
to appear directly as another conscious mind, in 
order to convince Leigh that he must yield. The 
rest of course was a matter of gaining additional 
life energy after boarding your ship, which” — he 
bowed slightly at the muscularly congealed body 
of the woman — “which she supplied me. 

“I have explained all this because of the fact 
that a mind will accept complete control only if 
full understanding of — defeat — is present. I must 
finally inform you, therefore, that you are to re- 
main alive for the next few days, during which 
time you will assist me in making personal con- 
tact with your friends." 

He made a gesture of dismissal: "Return to 
your normal existence. I have still to co-ordinate 
my two personalities completely, and that does 
not require your presence.” 

The Dreeghs went out blank-eyed, almost 
briskly; and the two minds in one body were — 

For Leigh, the Leigh of Earth, the first desper- 
ate shock was past. The room was curiously dim, 
as if he was staring out through eyes that were 
no longer — his! 

He thought, with a horrible effort at self-con- 
trol: “I’ve got to fight. Some thing is trying to 
possess my body. All the rest is lie." 

A soothing, mind-pulsation stole into the shad- 
owed chamber where his — self — was cornered : 

“No lie, but wondrous truth. You have not seen 
what the Dreeghs saw and felt, for you are inside 
this body, and know not that it has come marvel- 
ously alive, unlike anything that your petty 
dreams on Earth could begin to conceive. You 
must accept your high destiny, else the sight of 
your own body will be a terrible thing to you. Be 
calm, be braver than you’ve ever been, and pain 
will turn to joy." 

Calm came not. His mind quivered in its dark 
corner, abnormally conscious df strange and un- 
natural pressures that pushed in at it like winds 
out of unearthly night. For a moment of terrible 
fear, it funked that pressing night, then forced 
back to sanity, and had another thought of its own, 
a grimly cunning thought: 

The devilish interloper was arguing. Could that 
mean — his mind rocked with hope — that co-ordi- 
nation was impossible without his yielding to 
clever persuasion. 

Never would he yield. 

“Think,” whispered the alien mind, “think of 
being one valuable facet of a mind with an I. Q. 
twelve hundred, think of yourself as having played 
a role: and now you are returning to normalcy, a 



normalcy of unlimited power. You have been an 
actor completely absorbed in your role, but the 
play is over; you are alone in your dressing room 
removing the grease paint ; your mood of the play 
is fading, fading, fading — ” 

“Go to hell!” said William Leigh, loudly. “I’m 
William Leigh, I. Q. one hundred and twelve, sat- 
isfied to be just what I am. I don’t give a damn 
whether you built me up from the component ele- 
ments of your brain, or whether I was born nor- 
mally. I can just see what you’re trying to do 
with that hypnotic suggestion stuff, but it isn’t 
working. I’m here, I’m myself, and I stay myself. 
Go find yourself another body, if you’re so smart.” 

Silence settled where his voice had been; and 
the emptiness, the utter lack of sound brought a 
sharp twinge of fear greater than that which he 
had had before he spoke. 

He was so intent on that inner struggle that he 
was not aware of outer movement until — 

With a start he grew aware that he was staring 
out of a port window. Night spread there, the 
living night of space. 

A trick, he thought in an agony of fear; a trick 
somehow designed to add to the corroding power 
of hypnotism. 

A trick! He tried to jerk back — and, terrify- 
ingly, couldn’t. His body wouldn’t move. In- 
stantly, then, he tried to speak, to crash through 
that enveloping blanket of unholy silence. But no 
sound came. 

Not a muscle, not a finger stirred; not a single 
nerve so much as trembled. 

He was alone. 

Cut off in his little corner of brain. 


Yes, lost, came a strangely pitying sibilation 
of thought, lost to a cheap, sordid existence, lost 
to a life whose end is visible from the hour of 
birth, lost to a civilization that has already had to 

be saved from itself a thousand times. Even you, 
I think, can see that all this is lost to you forever — 
Leigh thought starkly : The thing was trying by 
a repetition of ideas, by showing evidence- of de- 
feat, to lay the foundations of further defeat. It 
was the oldest trick of simple hypnotism for sim- 
ple people. And he couldn’t let it work — 

You have, urged the mind inexorably, accepted 
the fact that you were playing a role; and now 
you have recognized our oneness, and are giving 
up the role. The proof of this recognition on 
your part is that you have yielded control of — our 
— body. 

— Our body, our body, OUR body — 

The words re-echoed like some Gargantuan 
sound through his brain, then merged swiftly into 
that calm, other-mind pulsation: 

— concentration. All intellect derives from the 
capacity to concentrate; and, progressively, the 
body itself shows life, reflects and focuses that 
gathering, vaulting power. 

— One more step remains: You must see — 
Amazingly, then, he was staring into a mirror. 
Where it had come from, he had no memory. It 
was there in front of him, where, an instant be- 
fore, had been a black porthole — and there was 
an image in the mirror, shapeless at first to his 
blurred vision. 

Deliberately — he felt the enormous deliberate- 
ness — the vision was cleared for him. He saw — 
and then he didn’t. 

His brain wouldn’t look. It twisted in a mad 
desperation, like a body buried alive, and briefly, 
horrendously conscious of its fate. Insanely, it 
fought away from the blazing thing in the mirror. 
So awful was the effort, so titanic the fear, that 
it began to gibber mentally, its consciousness to 
whirl dizzily, like a wheel spinning faster, faster — 
The wheel shattered into ten thousand aching 
fragments. Darkness came, blacker than Galactic 
night. And there was — 




The argument for place this month was, again, a 
hotly contested one, as the point-scores show. 
High point-scores mean a scattered vote; every 
story on the list got at least one vote for first 
place, and nearly every story on the list got a 
vote of “Get the hook!” from somebody. The 
analysis shows: 

Place Story 

1. Recruiting Station 

2. Wings of Night 

3. Goldfish Bowl 

4. Day After Tomorrow 

5. Runaround 

The Editor. 

Author Points 

A. E. van Vogt 2.58 

Lester del Rey 2.80 

A. MacDonald 3.1 
Roby Wentz 3.55 

Isaac Asimov 3.81 



Dy F. Anton Heeds 

• Given that much-sought knowledge of the future, how many 
would have courage to enjoy what life was to be theirs? 

Illustrated by Orban 

September, 1931. 

The lights of Europe still burned. 

The black hulk of Ploving Manor was broken by 
the squares of brilliant, friendly light from its 
many windows that gave the old country seat al- 
most a cheerful aspect. From the stone terrace to 
the south of Professor Ploving’s study long strings 
of bobbing, soft-glowing lanterns stretched across 
the close-cropped lawn to the dark outline of the 
orchard. Beyond the orchard was the pounding 
beat of the Channel. 

On a platform under the lights young men 
and young women danced to the strange new 
throbbing music from the Americas. It was a 
pulsing tom-tom beat, that music, that called for 
a measure of gay abandon and a great deal of mus- 
cular dexterity. But not quite the same sort of 
abandon that their mothers and father had known. 
For those lovely women at the terrace tables and 
the gray-templed men at their sides had been the 
fabulous, almost forgotten “lost generation” of an 
almost forgotten “post-war" period. These young- 



sters dancing under the English stars and pressing 
hands in the orchard’s shadow were the fortunate 
chosen ones who would build at last the brave new 
world that had been their fathers’ dream. 

Stephen Darville stood in the shadows of a great 
clump of rhododendrons at the terrace edge watch- 
ing the swirl of color on the lawn, his eyes search- 
ing the laughing crowd for a sight of Jean. His 
eyes found her and followed her across the lawn. 
When she came near he called her name. 

She hurried to him and took his hands in a 
friendly tug. 

“One dance together, Steve, before you go out 
to the workshop.” 

He shook his head. 

“Just one,” she pleaded. 

He pressed her hands, watching the way the stiff 
sea breeze ruffled the gay silk kerchief at her 

“There’s no time. Your father’s waiting for me 

“Confound father, confound you and confound 

She laughed, but there had been a note of real 
annoyance in her voice. 

Darville looked at the soft curve of her throat 
and the ligh-lighted sheen of her close-cropped 
brown hair and beyond the moving figures on the 
lawn. He suddenly wanted it all; the music and 
the laughter and the gaiety and the feel of her in 
his arms. But he wanted the other, too ; the thing 
that awaited him out there in John Ploving’s work- 
shop. The feel of metal cold in his hands, metal 
that his own hands had helped to shape, and the 
crazy swaying of the thin needles on the control 
board before him. The age-old call of the twin, 
conflicting fires in the blood of youth — Duty and 

She, too, was looking out toward the dancing 
couples. He took her impulsively in his arms and 
for a moment she clung to him. 

“You can come back to me later on this evening 
when you and father are through,” she whispered. 

He wanted to crush her to him. wanted to whis- 
per “If I do come back, if there is a ‘later on this 
evening’ for me." But he only pressed her fingers 

“Save me a dance," he said, and hurried away 
down the narrow path to Professor Ploving’s shop. 

The things that Professor Ploving and his young 
assistant did there in the shop were known only 
to themselves; even those in the immediate fam- 
ily had long ago learned to ask no questions and, 
above all, never to “snoop.” Ploving was no more 
immune than others to longings for fame, but years 
of observing with his keen, analytical mind the 
affairs of men both in and out of laboratories, had 
taught him caution. A professor of the august 
University of London, even a professor of inde- 

AST— 3E 

pendent wealth and impeccable family, could 
hardly dare lay himself open to ridicule. 

Had he been seeking to release atomic energy he 
could have spoken glibly and weightily of corpus- 
cular radiations and electrodes and atom-smash- 
ing and even the news-reporters would have man- 
aged to splash him upon the Sunday feature pages 
as a brainy and adventurous fellow and a chap to 
know. But let him once point to his much dis- 
cussed mathematical equations on his theory of the 
time-curve and suggest that he intended to utilize 
his theory in a most practical way and the world, 
he knew, would shout “time machine" and “crack- 
pot.” For time machines, in 1931, were things to 
be left to H. G. Wells and to the rising crop of 
talented and imaginative English and American 
fantasy writers. It was no doings for a man of 
action and, above all, for a man of science. 

Steve Darville closed the workshop door behind 
him, muting the tom-tom rhythms of the music 
from the terrace lawn. 

The Ploving Tube stood with its small door, not 
unlike the door of a Channel transport plane, 
swinging open. The professor was beside it, wip- 
ing his glasses on a linen kerchief, trying to hide 
the nervousness that made the knotty blue veins 
of his hands jerk spasmodically. He had thrown 
open the small window at the south wall and 
through it Steve caught a glimpse of the rooftops 
of the newly-built Ploving Laboratories which lay 
just under the hill, almost beside the Channel. 
The laboratories that were to mean so much — or 

Intricate calculations, founded upon his own 
theories of the “time-curve,” had been utilized by 
Professor Ploving in creation of the Ploving Tube, 
a cylinder most undramatic in appearance. But 
the heart of the tube was the tiny Ploving Button, 
a small incased mechanism no more than an inch 
in thickness and a couple of inches in diameter. If 
the tube were to be a success, it must depend upon 
that one tiny button. 

The button in the present tube was the result of 
nearly ten years of intensive labor. If it failed, 
another five to ten years would be needed to dupli- 
cate the experiment. According to his figures, 
Ploving felt the button capable of sending the tube 
no more than ten years into the future and return. 

The professor's plan, based upon that single as- 
sumption, was unique. 

Already the first wing of the new Ploving Labo- 
ratories was complete. There, in the building that 
would absorb nearly his entire fortune, the care- 
fully assembled corps of young experimenters 
would work night and day to perfect the Ploving 
Button, although they could only guess at its ulti- 
mate purpose. Within ten years, if things went 
well, Ploving felt that a button should have been 
developed capable of opening the entire time- 
curve to the adventurous exploration of mankind. 



“But I’m an old man,” the professor had snorted 
in the confidence of the little workshop. “I've 
no time to be dawdling about for a decade wait- 
ing for something to happen.” 

The Ploving plan was as simple as it was 
astounding. He meant to use that single button 
already created to go ten years into the future, 
take the finished products of his laboratories — the 
Ploving Button of ten years hence — return with 
them to his own time and proudly present them 
to their creators, the technicians who were so far 
only fumbling with the problem of their perfec- 

The technicians would “save” themselves ten 
years of labor and the new sweeping highway into 
the future and the past would be open to mankind 
within the life of its discoverer. 

Only cold, inexorable logic kept the old man 
from insisting that he should be at the controls 
when the Ploving Tube met its first test. But 
logic was a god to whom the professor could al- 
ways bow gracefully, if grudgingly, and logic cer- 
tainly dictated the need for youthful co-ordina- 
tion and strength during those fateful moments 
that could advance the scope of man’s knowledge 
by a decade. 

Ploving had conveyed his decision to his 
younger colleague only the day before in his char- 
acteristic way. 

“You’re elected, young man, by a unanimous vote 
of two.” 

Steve Darville, gazing past Professor Ploving to 
the moonlit scene beyond the window, wondered 
what changes ten years would have wrought. 
There could be little alteration in the immediate 
vicinity of the workshop, he knew, for the cautious 
professor had taken no chances. His iron law had 
decreed that nothing be erected or remodeled or 
torn away in the vicinity of the workshop; the 
provision, as an added precaution, being incorpo- 
rated as the first item in his will. 

The professor fumbled with his spectacles, man- 
aged at last to place them upon his nose at an un- 
accustomed angle, and coughed hesitatingly. 

"Ready?” he asked. 

“Ready,” Darville told him, and turned to the 

It was a moment made for drama, but there was 
no time for drama. He climbed into the narrow 
tube, strapped himself into the awkward jump-seat 
and carefully checked the dial readings on the 
control panel before him. He nodded without 
glancing out toward the professor, jerked his hand 
in a quick salute and closed the tube’s door. 

For a single moment he thought of the music 
and laughter out on the lawn beyond, the laughter 
and music he was missing tonight as he had been 
missing them for so many nights on end. But in 
the moment that he eased the control stick toward 

him he knew that it had been a small price for this 
moment. One hour more, less than an hour, and 
there would be time again for music and laughter 
and cool arms— or no longer need of them. 

The thin needles vibrated to life, swayed crazily 
across the faces of compact dials and as suddenly 
hesitated and stopped. To the man within the 
tube it seemed impossible that anything could have 
happened in those seconds. It was ludicrous; a 
moment more, he knew, and he must step out to 
face the heartbreak in the eyes of the kindly old 
man waiting just outside those thin metal walls. 

To open that door required a kind of courage 
Darville had never needed before and for seconds 
he hesitated, prolonging the moment. What could 
he say to the broken man at the other side of that 
door, what would there be to say? His white- 
knuckled fist twisted the latch, threw the door 
open almost rudely. 

The workshop was dark, save for soft moonlight 
that flooded across a section of the floor from a 
gaping hole in the roof and farther wall. Rubble 
lay in heaps over the shop; broken plaster and 
crumbled bricks and twisted, jagged fingers of 

He had to pick his way among them as he sought 
the old familiar path beyond that gaping splotch 
of moonlight. 

The path, too, was strewn with rubble and be- 
yond the path a black, pitted hole yawned among 
the broken, uprooted trees that had been the or- 
chard — was it only a few minutes ago? Darville 
rubbed a hand across his face, pulling roughly at 
his cheeks with thumb and fingers. Instinctively 
he wheeled toward the booming reverberation of 
the Channel, toward the costly Ploving Labora- 
tories that were his goal. 

He felt suddenly sick and tired and old. 

They, too, were gone; a single tall chimney, like 
a blackened finger against the moon-swept sky, was 
all that marked the site of the first great sprawling 
wing that had been the crux of Ploving’s dream. 

Ploving, Jean, where were they? 

Blindly, almost running, Darville stumbled up 
the path toward the south lawn, then stood weak 
and trembling at the edge of the twisted, fire- 
scorched orchard, gazing toward the bulk of Plov- 
ing Manor across the lawn that had been, for him, 
only minutes ago aglow with the soft light of 
swinging lanterns. 

The manor was in ruins; a black, blind, tooth- 
less hag squatting in sullen anger against the roll- 
ing meadow — windowless, fire-charred, forlorn. 
As though his body moved to some other will than 
his own, Darville walked slowly across that bar- 
ren lawn toward the house. 

He was almost within one of the gaping door- 
ways, the doorway to old Ploving’s study, before 
his keen eyes caught the faint glimmer of yellow 



light from a single crack at the foot of the cellar 
stairs. Light meant human beings who could tell 
him the things he dreaded to hear yet must know. 
Running down the steps he tried the door and, 
finding it locked, beat upon it with his fists. 

The crack of light suddenly expanded and 
through the partially opened doorway Darville saw 
the ugly snout of an automatic trained at his ribs. 
His eyes followed the uniformed arm upward to 
the insignia on the shoulder and to the stiff, tired 
face of the young officer who eyed him question- 
ingly. The automatic waved him inside and the 
door was shut quickly behind him. 

Within the smoke-filled room several men, all in 
uniform, sat about a table. Together they turned 
to stare at the newcomer. But it was the face of 
the lanky major with the shrapnel scar jagged 
across a cheek, that held Stephen Darville riveted. 
The major’s lips were opened, as if to speak, and 
his eyes dilated strangely. 

Darville watched the man shake his head to clear 
away the sudden paralysis ; saw his eyes Boften. 

“Sorry," the major said, rising. "Terribly sorry. 
But fact is, you look remarkably like a chap I 
soldiered with in Flanders. Died the last night of 
Dunkirk. Blown to bits. Shame, too. A brilliant 
fellow. Scientist of promise, I believe, before the 
war. You’re a good ten years or so younger of 
course, but the resemblance is uncanny.” 

The lanky major hesitated awkwardly. 

“I say, you couldn’t be — But no, I remember 
he was an only child.” 

The tension had broken. A stubby fellow in 
captain’s uniform turned to his superior officer. 

“You don’t mean Darville, do you? Steve Dar- 

The major nodded. 

“Funny," the captain said. “I never met Dar- 
ville, you know. But last fortnight I bumped into 
his wife. Ploving her name was. Plucky. Air 
warden in the Dover area. Caught hell there. 
Lost an arm eight months ago, but do you know, 
she wouldn’t quit. Not her. Back on duty and one 
of the best they’ve got.” 

Steve Darville stumbled blindly to the door and 
up the steps. Out on the path he did not turn to 
look back at the shell of the manor, black and 
gaunt and desolate against the sky. 

His hands shook as he reset the dial readings 
and pulled the control. He saw the needles sway 
and dance. He was hardly aware of it when they 
ceased swaying. Numbly he reached for the door 

Inside the workshop was the bright glow of 
bulbs. A stiff breeze blew in at the open window. 
Instinctively, Darville glanced at his wrist watch. 
He had been away, in that future that was not his 
future, for less than three-quarters of an hour. 

Professor Ploving’s eyes met his, read the frus- 
tration there. The older man said nothing, but 
put a hand out to the smooth surface of the tube 
and buried his face in his arm. 

Darville slipped quietly out of the workshop and 
up the familiar path, moonlight-flooded between 
the orchard trees. At the orchard's edge he 
halted; stood listening to the gay abandon of the 
music and the voices, searching that blob of light 
and color for Jean. She was standing at the edge 
of the lawn, a little apart from the others. 

Stephen Darville went to her quickly, smothered 
her cry of pleased surprise with a quick kiss and 
led her to the jerry-built dance floor. Together 
they caught the tom-tom rhythm, moved into the 
circling stream of the dancers. 

“Steve," she said, her voice eager, “do you have 
to go back tonight?” 

“Not tonight or ever," he said. 


“From now on, young one, I have time only for 

“Steve,” she cried. Her arm pressed him, her 
hand squeezed his. “We’ll be the happiest people 
in the world, Steve. The happiest, gayest, most in 
love two people in the world. And we'll go on 
being that, Steve — forever.” 

Two trumpets were taking a hot chorus, un- 
muted, their notes sharp and high and quivering. 

“Forever," he said. 



,(h Ttie foC&k, — ffiate Tfygi-Cofal 



By Isaac Asimov 

• It's a characteristic of a decadent civilization that their 
"scientists" consider all knowledge already known— that 
they spend their time making cyclopedic gatherings of that 
knowledge. But that Foundation was something rather tricky — 

Illustrated by M. Ulp 

Hari Seldon was old and tired. His voice, 
roared out though it was, by the amplifying sys- 
tem. was old and tired as well. 

There were few in that small assemblage that 
did not realize that Hari Seldon would be dead 
before the next spring. And they listened in re- 
spectful silence to the last official words of the 
Galaxy’s greatest mind. 

“This is the last meeting," that tired voice said, 
“of the group I had called together over twenty 
years ago.” Seldon’s eyes swept the seated scien- 
tists. He was alone on the platform, alone in the 
wheel chair to which a stroke had confined him 
two years before, and on his lap was the last vol- 
ume — the fifty-second — of the minutes of previ- 
ous meetings. It was opened to the last page. 

He continued: “The group I called together 
represented the best the Galactic Empire could 
offer of its philosophers, its psychologists, its his- 
torians, and its physical scientists. And in the 
twenty years since, we have considered the great- 
est problem ever to confront any group of fifty 
men— perhaps the greatest ever to confront any 
number of men. 

“We have not always agreed on methods or on 
procedure. We have spent months and, doubtless, 
years on futile debates over relatively minor is- 
sues. On more than one occasion, sizable sections 
of our group threatened to break away altogether. 

"And yet” — his old face lit in a gentle smile — 
“we solved the problem. Many of the original 
members died and were replaced by others. 
Schemes were abandoned; plans voted down; pro- 
cedures proven faulty. 

'v. “Yet we solved the problem; and not one mem- 
ber, while yet alive, left our group. I am glad of 

He paused, and allowed the subdued applause 
to die. 

"We have done; and our work is over. The 

Galactic Empire is falling, but its culture shall 
not die, and provision has been made for a new 
and greater culture to develop therefrom. The 
two Scientific Refuges wc planned have been 
established: one at each end of the Galaxy, at 
Terminus and at Star’s End. They are in opera- 
tion and already moving along the inevitable lines 
we have drawn for them. 

“For us is left only one last item, and that fifty 
years in the future. That item, already worked 
out in detail, will be the instigation of revolts in 
the key sectors of Anacreon and Loris. It will 
set that final machinery in motion to work itself 
out in the millennium that follows.” 

Hari Seldon’s tired head dropped. "Gentlemen, 
the last meeting of our group is hereby adjourned. 
We began in secret; we have worked throughout 
in secret; and now end in secret — to wait for our 
reward a thousand years hence with the estab- 
lishment of the Second Galactic Empire.” 

The last volume of minutes closed, and Hari 
Seldon’s thin hand fell away from it. 

“I am finished!” he whispered. 

Lewis Pirenne was busily engaged at his desk 
in the one well-lit corner of the room. Work had 
to be co-ordinated. Effort had to be organized. 
Threads had to be woven into a pattern. 

Fifty years now; fifty years to establish them- 
selves and set up Encyclopedia Foundation Num- 
ber One into a smoothly working unit. Fifty 
years to gather the raw material. Fifty years to 

It had been done. Five more years would see 
the publication of the first volume of the most 
monumental work the Galaxy had ever conceived. 
And then at ten-year intervals — regularly — like 
clockwork — volume after volume after volume. 
And with them there would be supplements; spe- 
cial articles on events of current interest, until — 


Pirenne stirred uneasily, as the muted buzzer 
upon his desk muttered peevishly. He had almost 
forgotten the appointment. He shoved the door 
release and out of an abstracted corner of one eye 
saw the door open and the broad figure of Salvor 
Hardin enter. Pirenne did not look up. 

Hardin smiled to himself. He was in a hurry, 
but he knew better than to take offense at Pi- 
renne’s cavalier treatment of anything or anyone 
that disturbed him at his work. He buried him- 
self in the chair on the other side of the desk and 

Pirenne’s stylus made the faintest scraping 
sound as it raced across paper. Otherwise, neither 
motion nor sound. And then Hardin withdrew a 
two-credit coin from his vest pocket. He flipped 
it and its stainless-steel surface caught glitters of 
light as it tumbled through the air. He caught it 
and flipped it again, watching the flashing reflec- 
tions lazily. Stainless steel made good medium 
of exchange on a planet where all metal had to 
be imported. 

Pirenne looked up and blinked. “Stop that!" 
he said querulously. 


"That infernal coin tossing. Stop it.” 

"Oh.” Hardin pocketed the metal disk. "Tell 
me when you’re ready, will you? I promised to 
be back at the City Council meeting before the 
new aqueduct project is put to a vote." 

Pirenne sighed and shoved himself away from 
the desk. “I’m ready. But I hope you aren’t 
going to bother me with city affairs. Take care 
of that yourself, please. The Encyclopedia takes 
up all my time." 

“Have you heard the news?” questioned Hardin, 

“What news?” 

“The news that the Terminus City ultrawave 
set received two hours ago. The Royal Governor 
of the Prefect of Anacreon has assumed the title 
of king.” 

“Well? What of it?” 

“It means,” responded Hardin, “that we’re cut 



off from the inner regions of the Empire. Do you 
realize that Anacreon stands square across what 
was our last remaining trade route to Santanni 
and to Trantor and to Vega itself? Where is our 
metal to come from? We haven’t managed to get 
a steel or aluminum shipment through in six 
months and now we won’t be able to get any at 
all, except by grace of the King of Anacreon.” 

Pirenne tch-tched impatiently. “Get them 
through him, then.” 

“But can we? Listen, Pirenne, according to 
the charter which established this Foundation, the 
Board of Trustees of the Encyclopedia Commit- 
tee has been given full administrative powers. I, 
as Mayor of Terminus City, have just enough 
power to blow my own nose and perhaps to sneeze 
if you countersign an order giving me permission. 
It’s up to you and your Board then. I’m asking 
you in the name of the City, whose prosperity 
depends upon uninterrupted commerce with the 
Galaxy, to call an emergency meeting — ” 

“Stop! A campaign speech is out of order. 
Now, Hardin, the Board of Trustees has not 
barred the establishment of a municipal govern- 
ment on Terminus. We understand one to be nec- 
essary because of the increase in population since 
the Foundation was established fifty years ago, 
and because of the increasing number of people 
involved in non-Encyclopedia affairs. But that 
does not mean that the first and only aim of the 
Foundation is no longer to publish the definitive 
Encyclopedia of all human knowledge. We are 
a State-supported, scientific institution, Hardin. 
We cannot — must not — will not interfere in local 

“Local politics! By the Emperor’s left big toe, 
Pirenne, this is a matter of life and death. The 
planet, Terminus, by itself cannot support a 
mechanized civilization. It lacks metals. You 
know that. It hasn’t a trace of iron, copper, or 
aluminum in the surface rocks, and precious lit- 
tle of anything else. What do you think will hap- 
pen to the Encyclopedia if this whatchamacallum 
King of Anacreon clamps down on us?" 

“On us? Are you forgetting that we are under 
the direct control of the Emperor himself? We 
are not part of the Prefect of Anacreon or of any 
other prefect. Memorize that! We are part of 
the Emperor’s personal domain, and no one 
touches us. The Empire can protect its own." 

“Then why didn’t it prevent the Royal Gov- 
ernor of Anacreon from kicking over the traces? 
And only Anacreon? At least twenty of the out- 
ermost prefects of the Galaxy, the entire Periph- 
ery as a matter of fact, have begun steering things 
their own way. I tell you I feel darned uncertain 
of the Empire and its ability to protect us.” 

“Hokum! Royal Governors, Kings — what’s the 
difference? The Empire is always shot through 

with a certain amount of politics and with differ- 
ent men pulling this way and that. Governors 
have rebelled, and, for that matter, Emperors have 
been deposed or assassinated before this. But 
what has that to do with the Empire itself? For- 
get it, Hardin. It’s none of our business. We 
are first of all and last of all — scientists. And 
our concern is the Encyclopedia. Oh, yes, I'd 
almost forgotten. Hardin!” 


“Do something about that paper of yours!” Pi- 
renne’s voice was angry. 

"The Terminus City Journal? It isn't mine; 
it's privately owned. What's it been doing?” 
"For weeks now it has been recommending that 
the fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of 
the Foundation be made the occasion for public 
holidays and quite inappropriate celebrations.” 
"And why not? The radium clock will open 
the First Vault in three months. I would call that 
a big occasion, wouldn’t you?” 

“Not for silly pageantry, Hardin. The First 
Vault and its opening concern the Board of 
Trustees alone. Anything of importance will be 
communicated to the people. That is final and 
please make it plain to the Journal.” 

“I’m sorry, Pirenne, but the City Charter guar- 
antees a certain minor matter known as freedom 
of the press.” 

“It may. But the Board of Trustees does not. 
I am the Emperor’s representative on Terminus, 
Hardin, and have full powers in this respect.” 
Hardin’s expression became that of a man count- 
ing to ten, mentally. He said grimly: "In con- 
nection with your status as Emperor's representa- 
tive, then, I have a final piece of news to give 

“About Anacreon?” Pirenne’s lips tightened. 
He felt annoyed. 

“Yes. A special envoy will be sent to us from 
Anacreon. In two weeks.” 

“An envoy? Here? From Anacreon?” Pirenne 
chewed that. "What for?” 

Hardin stood up, and shoved his chair back up 
against the desk. “I give you one guess.” 

And he left — quite unceremoniously. - 

Anselm haut Rodric — “haut" itself signifying 
noble blood — Sub-prefect of Pluema and Envoy 
Extraordinary of his Highness of Anacreon — plus 
half a dozen other titles — was met by Salvor Har- 
din at the spaceport with all the imposing titual 
of a state occasion. 

With a tight smile and a low bow, the sub- 
prefect had flipped his blaster from its holster 
and presented it to Hardin butt first. Hardin re- 
turned the compliment with a blaster specifically 
borrowed for the occasion. Friendship and good 
will were thus established, and if Hardin noted 



the barest bulge at Haut Rodric’s shoulder, he 
prudently said nothing. 

The ground car that received them then — pre- 
ceded, flanked, and followed by the suitable cloud 
of minor functionaries — proceeded in a slow, cere- 
monious manner to Cyclopedia Square, cheered 
on its way by a properly enthusiastic crowd. 

Sub-prefect Anselm received the cheers with 
the complaisant indifference of a soldier and a 

He said to Hardin, “And this city is all your 

Hardin raised his voice to be heard above the 
clamor, “We are a young world, your eminence. 
In our short history we have had but few mem- 
bers of the higher nobility visiting our poor 
planet. Hence, our enthusiasm." 

It is certain that “higher nobility” did not rec- 
ognize irony when he heard it. 

He said thoughtfully: "Founded fifty years 

ago. Hm-m-m! You have a great deal of unex- 
ploited land here, mayor. You have never consid- 
ered dividing it into estates?” 

“There is no necessity as yet. We’re extremely 
centralized; we have to be, because of the Ency- 
clopedia. Some day, perhaps, when our popula- 
tion has grown — " 

“A strange world! You have no peasantry?" 

Hardin reflected that it didn’t require a great 
deal of acumen to tell that his eminence was in- 
dulging in a bit of fairly clumsy pumping. He 
replied casually, “No — nor nobility.” 

Haut Rodric’s eyebrows lifted. “And your 
leader — the man I am to meet?” 

“You mean Dr. Pirenne? Yes! He is the Chair- 
man of the Board of Trustees — and a personal rep- 
resentative of the Emperor." 

“ Doctor ? No other title? A scholar ? And he 
rates above the civil authority?” 

“Why, certainly," replied Hardin, amiably. 
"We’re all scholars more or less. After all, we’re 
not so much a world as a scientific foundation — 
under the direct control of the Emperor." 

There was a faint emphasis upon the last phrase 
that seemed to disconcert the sub-prefect. He 
remained thoughtfully silent during the rest of 
the slow way to Cyclopedia Square. 

If Hardin found himself bored by the after- 
noon and evening that followed, he had at least 
the satisfaction of realizing that Pirenne and 
Haut Rodric — having met with loud and mutual 
protestations of esteem and regard — were detest- 
ing each other’s company a good deal more. 

Haut Rodric had attended with glazed eye to 
Pirenne’s lecture during the “inspection tour" of 
the Encyclopedia Building. With polite and va- 
cant smile, he had listened to the latter’s rapid 
patter as they passed through the vast storehouses 

of reference films and the numerous projection 

It was only after he had gone down level by 
level into and through the composing depart- 
ments, editing departments, publishing depart- 
ments, and filming departments that he made his 
first comprehensive statement. 

“This is all very interesting," he said, “but it 
seems a strange occupation for grown men. What 
good is it?” 

It was a remark, Hardin noted, for which Pi- 
renne found no answer, though the expression of 
his face was most eloquent. 

The dinner that evening was much the mirror 
image of the events of that afternoon, for Haut 
Rodric monopolized the conversation by describ- 
ing — in minute technical detail and with incredi- 
ble zest — his own exploits as battalion head dur- 
ing the recent war between Anacreon and the 
neighboring newly proclaimed Kingdom of 

The details of the sub-prefect’s account were 
not completed until dinner was over and one by 
one the minor officials had drifted away. The 
last bit of triumphant description of mangled 
spaceships came when he had accompanied Pi- 
renne and Hardin onto the balcony and relaxed 
in the warm air of the summer evening. 

“And now," he said, with a heavy joviality, “to 
serious matters.” 

“By all means," murmured Hardin, lighting a 
long cigar of Vegan tobacco — not many left, he 
reflected — and teetering his chair back on two legs. 

The Galaxy was high in the sky and its misty 
lens shape stretched lazily from horizon to hori- 
zon. The few stars here at the very edge of the 
universe were insignificant twinkles in compari- 

“Of course," said the sub-prefect, "all the for- 
mal discussions — the paper signing and such dull 
technicalities, that is — will take place before the — 
What is it you call your Council?” 

“The Board of Trustees," replied Pirenne, 

“Queer name! Anyway, that’s for tomorrow. 
We might as well clear away some of the under- 
brush, man to man, right now, though. Hey?" 

“And this means — ’’ prodded Hardin. 

“Just this. There’s been a certain change in the 
situation out here in the Periphery and the status 
of your planet has become a trifle uncertain. It 
would be very convenient if we succeeded in com- 
ing to an understanding as to how the matter 
stands. By the way, mayor, have you another one 
of those cigars?” 

Hardin started and produced one reluctantly. 

Anselm haut Rodric sniffed at it and emitted a 
clucking sound of pleasure. “Vegan tobacco! 
Where did you get it?” 

“We received some last shipment. There’s 



hardly any left. Space knows when we’ll get more 
— if ever.” 

Pirenne scowled. He didn’t smoke — and, for 
that matter, detested the odor. "Let me under- 
stand this, your eminence. Your mission is merely 
one of clarification?” 

Haut Rodric nodded through the smoke of his 
first lusty puffs. 

“In that case, it is soon over. The situation with 
respect to Encyclopedia Foundation Number One 
is what it always has been.” 

“Ah! And what is it that it always has been?” 
“Just this: A State-supported scientific insti- 
tution and part of the personal domain of his 
august majesty, the Emperor." 

The sub-prefect seemed unimpressed. He blew 
smoke rings. "That’s a nice theory, Dr. Pirenne. 
I imagine you’ve got charters with the Imperial 
Seal upon it — but what’s the actual situation? 
How do you stand with respect to Smyrno? You’re 
not fifty parsecs from Smyrno’s capital, you know. 
And what about Konom and Daribow?” 

Pirenne said : “We have nothing to do with 

any prefect. As part of the Emperor’s — ” 
“They’re not prefects,” reminded Haut Rodric; 
“they're kingdoms now.” 

"Kingdoms then. We have nothing to do with 
them. As a scientific institution — ” 

“Science be dashed!” swore the other, via a 
bouncing soldierly oath that ionized the atmos- 
phere. “What the devil has that got to do with 
the fact that we’re liable to see Terminus taken 
over by Smyrno at any time?” 

“And the Emperor? He would just sit by?" 
Haut Rodric calmed down and said: “Well, 

now, Dr. Pirenne, you respect the Emperor’s 
property and so does Anacreon, but Smyrno might 
not. Remember, we’ve just signed a treaty with 
the Emperor — I’ll present a copy to that Board 
of yours tomorrow — which places upon us the re- 
sponsibility of maintaining order within the bor- 
ders of the old Prefect of Anacreon on behalf of 
the Emperor. Our duty is clear, then, isn’t it?” 
“Certainly. But Terminus is not part of the 
Prefect of Anacreon.” 

“And Smyrno—” 

“Nor is it part of the Prefect of Smyrno. It’s 
not part of any prefect." 

“Does Smyrno know that?” 

"I don’t care what it knows." 

"We do. We’ve just finished a war with her 
and she still holds two stellar systems that are 
ours. Terminus occupies an extremely strategic 
spot, between the two nations." 

Hardin felt weary. He broke in: “What is 

your proposition, your eminence?" 

The sub-prefect seemed quite ready to stop 
fencing in favor of more direct statements. He 
said briskly: “It seems perfectly obvious that, 

since Terminus cannot defend itself, Anacreon 
must take over the job for its own sake. You 
understand we have no desire to interfere with 
internal administration — ” 

“Uh-huh,” grunted Hardin, dryly. 

“ — but we believe that it would be best for all 
concerned to have Anacreon establish a military 
base upon the planet.” 

“And that is all you wguld want — a military 
base in some of the vast unoccupied territory — 
and let it go at that.” 

"Well, of course, there would be the matter of 
supporting the protecting forces.” 

Hardin's chair came down on all four, and his 
elbows went forward on his knees. "Now we’re 
getting to the nub. Let’s put it into language. 
Terminus is to be a protectorate and to pay trib- 

“Not tribute. Taxes. We’re protecting you. 
You pay for it.” 

Pirenne banged his hand on the chair with sud- 
den violence. "Let me speak, Hardin. Your emi- 
nence, I don’t care a rusty half-credit coin for 
Anacreon, Smyrno, or all your local politics and 
petty wars. I tell you this is a State-supported 
tax-free institution.” 

"State-supported? But we are the State, Dr. 
Pirenne, and we’re not supporting.” 

Pirenne rose angrily. “Your eminence, I am 
the direct representative of — ’’ 

“ — his august majesty, the Emperor," chorused 
Anselm haut Rodric sourly, "and I am the direct 
representative of the King of Anacreon. Anac- 
reon is a lot nearer, Dr. Pirenne." 

"Let’s get back to business,” urged Hardin. 
"How would you take these so-called taxes, your 
eminence? Would you take them in kind: wheat, 
potatoes, vegetables, cattle?” 

The sub-prefect stared. "What the devil? 
What do we need with those? We’ve got hefty 
surpluses. Gold, of course. Chromium or vana- 
dium would be even better, incidentally, if you 
have it in quantity." 

Hardin laughed. “Quantity! We haven’t even 
got iron in quantity. Gold! Here, take a look at 
our currency.” He tossed a coin to the envoy. 

Haut Rodric bounced it and stared. “What is 
it? Steel?” 

“That’s right." 

"I don’t understand." 

"Terminus is a planet practically without metals. 
We import it all. Consequently, we have no gold, 
and nothing to pay unless you want a few thou- 
sand bushels of potatoes.” 

"Well — manufactured goods." 

“Without metal? What do we make our ma- 
chines out of?” 

There was a pause and Pirenne tried again. 
“This whole discussion is wide of the point. Ter- 
minus is not a planet, but a scientific foundation 



preparing a great encyclopedia. Space, man, have 
you no respect for science?" 

“Encyclopedias don't win wars.” Haut Rod- 
ric's brows furrowed. “A completely unproduc- 
tive world, then — and practically unoccupied at 
that. Well, you might pay with land." 

“What do you mean?” asked Pirenne. 

“This world is just about empty and the unoc- 
cupied land is probably fertile. There are many 
of the nobility on Anacreon that would like an 
addition to their estates.” 

“You can’t propose any such — " 

“There’s no necessity of looking so alarmed. 
Dr. Pirenne. There’s plenty for all of us. If it 
comes to what it comes, and you co-operate, we 
could probably arrange it so that you lose noth- 
ing. Titles can be conferred and estates granted. 
You understand me. I think.” 

Pirenne sneered, “Thanks!" 

And then Hardin said ingenuously: "Could 

Anacreon supply us with adequate quantities of 
praseodymium for our atomic-power plant? We’ve 
only a few years’ supply left." 

There was a gasp from Pirenne and then a dead 
silence for minutes. When Haut Rodric spoke it 
was in a voice quite different from what it had 
been till then: 

“You have atomic power?" 

“Certainly. What's unusual in that? I imagine 
atomic power is fifty thousand years old now. 
Why shouldn’t we have it? Except that it’s a lit- 
tle difficult to get praseodymium." 

"Yes . . . yes.” The envoy paused and added 
uncomfortably: "Well, gentlemen, we’ll pursue 

the subject tomorrow. You’ll excuse me — ” 

Pirenne looked after him and gritted through 
his teeth: “That insufferable, dull-witted donkey! 

Hardin broke in: "Not at all. He's merely the 
product of his environment. He doesn't under- 
stand much except that ‘I got a gun and you 
ain’t.’ ” 

Pirenne whirled on him in exasperation. 
"What in space did you mean by the talk about 
military bases and tribute? Are you crazy?" 

“No. I merely gave him rope and let him talk. 
You’ll notice that he managed to stumble out with 
Anacreon’s real intentions — that is, the parceling 
up of Terminus into landed estates. Of course, I 
don’t intend to let that happen." 

"You don’t intend. You don’t. And who are 
you? And may I ask what you meant by blowing 
off your mouth about our atomic-power plant? 
Why, it’s just the thing that would make us a 
military target." 

“Yes," grinned Hardin. “A military target to 
stay away from. Isn’t it obvious why I brought 
the subject up? It happened to confirm a very 
strong suspicion I had had." 

“And that was what?" 

"That Anacreon no longer has an atomic-power 
economy — and that, therefore, the rest of the 
Periphery no longer has one as well. Interesting, 
wouldn’t you say?’’ 

“Bah!” Pirenne left in fiendish humor, and 
Hardin smiled gently. 

He threw his cigar away and looked up at the 
outstretched Galaxy. “Back to oil and coal, are 
they?" he murmured — and what the rest of his 
thoughts were he kept to himself. 

When Hardin denied owning the Journal, he 
was perhaps technically correct, but no more. 
Hardin had been the leading spirit in the drive 
to incorporate Terminus into an autonomous mu- 
nicipality — he had been elected its first mayor — 
so it was not surprising that, though not a single 
share of Journal stock was in his name, some sixty 
percent was controlled by him in more devious 

There were way 6. 

Consequently, when Hardin began suggesting 
to Pirenne that he be allowed to attend meetings 
of the Board of Trustees, it was not quite coinci- 
dence that the Journal began a similar campaign. 
And the first mass meeting in the history of the 
Foundation was held, demanding representation 
of the City in the "national" government. 

And, eventually, Pirenne capitulated with ill 

Hardin, as he sat at the foot of the table, specu- 
lated idly as to just what it was that made physi- 
cal scientists such poor administrators. It might 
be merely that they were too used to inflexible 
fact and far too unused to pliable people. 

In any case, there was Tomaz Sutt and Jord 
Fara on his left; Lundin Crast and Yate Fulham 
on his right; with Pirenne, himself, presiding. 
He knew them all, of course, but they seemed to 
have put on an extra-special bit of pomposity for 
the occasion. 

Hardin half dozed through the initial formali- 
ties and then perked up when Pirenne sipped at 
the glass of water before him by way of prepara- 
tion and said: 

"I find it very gratifying to be able to inform 
the Board that, since our last meeting, I have re- 
ceived word that Lord Dorwin, Chancellor of the 
Empire, will arrive at Terminus in two weeks. It 
may be taken for granted that our relations with 
Anacreon will be smoothed out to our complete 
satisfaction as soon as the Emperor is informed 
of the situation.” 

He smiled and addressed Hardin across the 
length of the table. “Information to this effect 
has been given the Journal." 

Hardin snickered below his breath. It seemed 
evident that Pirenne’s desire to strut this informa- 
tion before him had been one reason for his ad- 
mission into the sacrosanctum. 


He said evenly: “Leaving vague expressions 

out of account, what do you expect Lord Dorwin 
to do?” 

Tomaz Sutt replied. He had a bad habit of ad- 
dressing one in the third person when in his more 
stately moods. 

“It is quite evident,” he observed, “that Mayor 
Hardin is a professional cynic. He can scarcely 
fail to realize that the Emperor would be most 
unlikely to allow his personal rights to be in- 

“Why? What would he do in case they were?" 

There was an annoyed stir. Pirenne said, “You 
are out of order," and, as an afterthought, “and 
are making what are near-treasonable statements, 

“Am I to consider myself answered?” 

“Yes! If you have nothing further to say — ” 

“Don’t jump to conclusions. I'd like to ask a 
question. Besides this stroke of diplomacy — 
which may or may not prove to mean anything — 
has anything concrete been done to meet the 
Anacreonic menace?” 

Yate Fulham drew one hand along his ferocious 
red mustache. “You see a menace there, do you?” 

"Don't you?” 

"Scarcely" — this with indulgence. “The Em- 
peror — ” 

"Great space!” Hardin felt annoyed. “What is 
this? Every once in a while someone mentions 
‘Emperor’ or 'Empire' as if it were a magic word. 
The Emperor is fifty thousand parsecs away, and 
I doubt whether he gives a damn about us. And 
if he does, what can he do? What there was of 
the imperial navy in these regions is in the hands 
of the four kingdoms now and Anacreon has its 
share. Listen, we have to fight with guns, not 
with words. 

"Now, get this. We’ve had two months of grace 
so far, mainly because we've given Anacreon the 
idea that we’ve got atomic weapons. Well, we 
all know that that’s a little white lie. We’ve got 
atomic power, but only for commercial uses, and 
darn little at that. They're going to find that out 
soon, and if you think they’re going to enjoy 
being jollied along, you’re mistaken.” 

“My dear sir — ” 

“Hold on; I'm not finished.” Hardin was warm- 
ing up. He liked this. "It’s all very well to drag 
chancellors into this, but it would be much nicer 
to drag a few great big siege guns fitted for beau- 
tiful atomic bombs into it. We’ve lost two 
months, gentlemen, and we may not have another 
two months to lose. What do you propose to do?” 

Said Lundin Crast, his long nose wrinkling an- 
grily: “If you’re proposing the militarization of 
the Foundation, I won’t hear a word of it. It 
would mark our open entrance into the field of 

politics. We, Mr. Mayor, are a scientific founda- 
tion and nothing else.” 

Added Sutt: “He does not realize, moreover, 

that building armaments would mean withdraw- 
ing men — valuable men — from the Encyclopedia. 
That cannot be done, come what may." 

“Very true,” agreed Pirenne. "The Encyclo- 
pedia first — always." 

Hardin groaned in spirit. The Board seemed 
to suffer violently from Encyclopedia on the 

He said icily: “Has it ever occurred to the 

Board that it is barely possible that Terminus 
may have interests other than the Encyclopedia?” 

Pirenne replied: “I do not conceive, Hardin, 
that the Foundation can have any interest other 
than the Encyclopedia." 

“I didn’t say the Foundation; I said Terminus. 
I’m afraid you don’t understand the situation. 
There’s a good million of us here on Terminus, 
and not more than a hundred and fifty thousand 
are working directly on the Encyclopedia. To 
the rest of us, this is home. We were born here. 
We're living here. Compared with our farms and 
our homes and our factories, the Encyclopedia 
means little to us. We want them protected — ’’ 

He was shouted down. 

“The Encyclopedia first," ground out Crast. 
"We have a mission to fulfill." 

"Mission, hell," shouted Hardin. "That might 
have been true fifty years ago. But this is a new 

"That has nothing to do with it,” replied Pi- 
renne. “We are scientists.” 

And Hardin leaped through the opening. "Are 
you, though? That’s a nice hallucination, isn't 
it? Your bunch here is a perfect example of what’s 
been wrong with the entire Galaxy for thousands 
of years. What kind of science is it to be stuck 
out here for centuries classifying the work of 
scientists of the last millennium? Have you ever 
thought of working onward, extending their 
knowledge and improving upon it? No! You’re 
quite happy to stagnate. The whole Galaxy is, 
and has been for space knows how long. That’s 
why the Periphery is revolting; that’s why com- 
munications are breaking down; that’s why petty 
wars are becoming eternal; that’s why whole sys- 
tems are losing atomic power and going back to 
barbarous techniques of chemical power. 

"If you ask me,” he cried, “the Galaxy is going 
to pot!" 

He paused and dropped into his chair to catch 
his breath, paying no attention to the two or three 
that were attempting simultaneously to answer 

Crast got the floor. “I don’t know what you’re 
trying to gain by your hysterical statements, Mr. 
Mayor. Certainly, you are adding nothing con- 
structive to the discussion. I move, Mr. Chair- 



man, that the last speaker’s remarks be placed out 
of order and the discussion be resumed from the 
point where it was interrupted.” 

Jord Fara bestirred himself for the first time. 
Up to this point Fara had taken no part in the 
argument even at its hottest. But now his pon- 
derous voice, every bit as ponderous as his three- 
hundred-pound body, burst its bass way out. 

“Haven’t we forgotten something, gentlemen?” 

“What?” asked Pirenne, peevishly. 

“That in a month we celebrate our fiftieth anni- 
versary.” Fara had a trick of uttering the most 
obvious platitudes with great profundity. 

“What of it?” 

“And on that anniversary," continued Fara, 
placidly, “Hari Seldon's First Vault will open. 
Have you ever considered what might be in the 
First Vault?” 

“I don’t know. Routine matters. A stock speech 
of congratulations, perhaps. I don’t think any 
significance need be placed on the First Vault — 
though the Journal " — and he glared at Hardin, 
who grinned back — “did try to make an issue of it. 
I put a stop to that.” 

“Ah,” said Fara, “but perhaps you are wrong. 
Doesn’t it strike you" — he paused and put a fin- 
ger to his round little nose — “that the Vault is 
opening at a very convenient time?" 

“Very inconvenient time, you mean," muttered 
Fulham. “We've got some other things to worry 

“Other things more important than a message 
from Hari Seldon? I think not." Fara was grow- 
ing more pontifical than ever, and Hardin eyed 
him thoughtfully. What was he getting at? 

“In fact,” said Fara, happily, “you all seem to 
forget that Seldon was the greatest psychologist 
of our time and that he was the founder of our 
Foundation. It seems reasonable to assume that 
he used his science to determine the probable 
course of the history of the immediate future. If 
he did, as seems likely, I repeat, he would cer- 
tainly have managed to find a way to warn us of 
danger and, perhaps, to point out a solution. The 
Encyclopedia was very dear to his heart, you 

An aura of puzzled doubt prevailed. Pirenne 
hemmed. “Well, now, I don’t know. Psychology 
is a great science, but — there are no psychologists 
among us at the moment, I believe. It seems to 
me we’re on uncertain ground.” 

Fara turned to Hardin. “Didn’t you study psy- 
chology under Alurin?" 

Hardin answered, half in reverie: “Yes. I 

never completed my studies, though. I got tired 
of theory. I wanted to be a psychological engi- 
neer, but we lacked the facilities, so I did the next 
best thing — I went into politics. It’s practically 
the same thing." 

“Well, what do you think of the First Vault?" 

And Hardin replied cautiously, “I don’t know." 

He did not say a word for the remainder of the 
meeting — even though it got back to the sub- 
ject of the Chancellor of the Empire. 

In fact, he didn’t even listen. He’d been put on 
a new track and things were falling into place — 
just a little. Little angles were fitting together 
— one or two. 

And psychology was the key. He was sure of 

He was trying desperately to remember the psy- 
chological theory he had once learned — and from 
it he got one thing right at the start. ) 

A great psychologist such as Seldon could un- 
ravel human emotions and human reactions suffi- 
ciently to be able to predict broadly the histori- 
cal sweep of the future. 

And that meant — hm-m-m! 

Lord Dorwin took snuff. He also had long hair, 
curled intricately and, quite obviously, artificially; 
to which were added a pair of fluffy, blond side- 
burns, which he fondled affectionately. Then, 
too, he spoke in overprecise statements and left 
out all the r’s. 

At the moment, Hardin had no time to think 
of more of the reasons for the instant detestation 
in which he had held the noble chancellor. Oh, 
yes, the elegant gestures of one hand with which 
he accompanied his remarks and the studied con- 
descension with which he accompanied even a 
simple affirmative. 

But, at any rate, the problem now was to locate 
him. He had disappeared with Pirenne half an 
hour before — passed clean out of sight, blast him. 

Hardin was quite sure that his own absence 
during the preliminary discussions would quite 
suit Pirenne. 

But Pirenne had been seen in this wing and on 
this floor. It was simply a matter of trying every 
door. Halfway down, he said, “Ah !” and stepped 
into the darkened room. The profile of Lord Dor- 
win’s intricate hair-do was unmistakable against 
the lighted screen. 

Lord Dorwin looked up and said: “Ah, Hahdin. 
You ah looking foah us, no doubt?” He held out 
his snuffbox — overadorned and poor workmanship 
at that, noted Hardin — and was politely refused, 
whereat he helped himself to a pinch and smiled 

Pirenne scowled and Hardin met that with an 
expression of blank indifference. 

The only sound to break the short silence that 
followed was the clicking of the lid of Lord Dor- 
win’s snuffbox. And then he put it away and said : 

“A gweat achievement, this Encyclopedia of 
yoahs, Hahdin. A feat, indeed, to rank with the 
most majestic accomplishments of all time.” 

“Most of us think so, milord. It’s an accom- 



plishment not quite accomplished as yet, how- 

“Fwom the little I have seen of the efficiency 
of yoah Foundation, I have no feahs on that 
scoah.” And he nodded to Pirenne, who responded 
with a delighted bow. 

Quite a love feast, thought Hardin. “I wasn’t 
complaining about the lack of efficiency, milord, 
as much as of the definite excess of efficiency on 
the part of the Anacreonians — though in another 
and more destructive direction.” 

“Ah, yes, Anacweon.” A negligent wave of the 
hand. “I have just come from theah. Most bah- 
bawous planet. It is thowoughly inconceivable 
that human beings could live heah in the Pewiph- 
ewy. The lack of the most elementawy wequiah- 
ments of a cultuahed gentleman; the absence of 
the most fundamental necessities foah comfoht 
and convenience — the uttah disuetude into which 
they — ” 

Hardin interrupted dryly: “The Anacreonians, 
unfortunately, have all the elementary require- 
ments for warfare and all the fundamental neces- 
sities for destruction.” 

“Quite, quite.” Lord Dorwin seemed annoyed, 
perhaps at being stopped midway in his sentence. 
“But we ahn’t to discuss business now, y’know. 
Weally, I’m othahwise concuhned. Doctah Pi- 
wenne, ahn’t you going to show me the second 
volume? Do, please.” 

The lights clicked out and for the next half- 
hour Hardin might as well have been on Anac- 
reon for all the attention they paid him. The 
book upon the screen made little sense to him, nor 
did he trouble to make the attempt to follow, but 
Lord Dorwin became quite humanly excited at 
times. Hardin noticed that during these moments 
of excitement the chancellor pronounced his r’s. 

When the lights went on again, Lord Dorwin 
said: "Mahvelous. Twuly mahvelous. You ah 

not, by chance, intewested in ahchasology, ah you, 

“Eh?” Hardin shook himself out of an ab- 
stracted reverie. “No, milord, can't say I am. 
I'm a psychologist by original intention and a 
politician by final decision.” 

“Ah! No doubt intewesting studies. I, my- 



self, y’know" — he helped himself to a giant pinch ' 
of snuff — “dabble in ahchaeology.” 


“His lordship,” interrupted Pirenne, “is most 
thoroughly acquainted with the field.” 

“Well, p’haps I am, p'haps I am,” said his lord- 
ship complacently. “I have done an awful amount 
of wuhk in the science. Extwemely well-read, in 
fact. I've gone thwough all of Jawdun, Obijasi, 
Kwomwill . . . oh, all of them, y'know.” 

“I’ve heard of them, of course,” said Hardin, 
"but I’ve never read them." 

“You should some day, my deah fellow. It 
would amply repay you. Why, I cutainly con- 
sidah it well wuhth the twip heah to the Pewiph- 
ewy to see thiB copy of Lameth. Would you be- 
lieve it, my libwawy totally lacks a copy. By the 
way, Doctah Piwenne, you have not fohgotten 
yoah pwomise to twansdevelop a copy foah me 
befoah I leave?" 

“Only too pleased." 

“Lameth, you must know," continued the chan- 
cellor, pontifically, “pwesents a new and most in- 
tewesting addition to my pwevious knowledge of 
the ‘Owigin Question,' " 

“Which question?" asked Hardin. 

“The ‘Owigin Question.' The place of the owi- 
gin of the human species, y’know. Suahly you 
must know that it is thought that owiginally the 
human wace occupied only one planetawy system." 

"Well, yes, I know that." 

“Of cohse, no one knows exactly which system 
it is — lost in the mists of antiquity. Theah ah 
theawies, howevah. Siwius, some say. Othahs in- 
sist on Alpha Centauwi, oah on Sol, oah on 61 
Cygni — all in the Siwius sectah, you see." 

“And what does Lameth say?" 

“Well, he goes off along a new twail completely. 
He twies to show that ahchaeological wemains on 
the thuhd planet of the Ahctuwian System show 
that humanity existed theah befoah theah wah 
any indications of space-twavel." 

“And that means It was humanity’s birth 

“P’haps. I must wead it closely and weigh the 
evidence befoah I can say foah cuhtain. One must 
see just how weliable his obsuhvations ah." 

Hardin remained silent for a short while. Then 
he said, “When did Lameth write his book?" 

“Oh — I should say about eight hundwed yeahs 
ago. Of cohse, he has based it lahgely on the 
pwevious wuhk of Gleen.” 

“Then why rely on him? Why not go to Arc- 
turus and study the remains for yourself?” 

Lord Dorwin raised his eyebrows and took a 
pinch of snuff hurriedly. “Why. whatevah foah, 
my deah fellow?” 

“To get the information firsthand, of course." 

“But wheah’s the necessity? It seems an un- 
commonly woundabout and hopelessly wigma- 

wolish method of getting anywheahs. Look heah, 
now, I've got the wuhks of all the old mastahs — 
the gweat ahchaeologists of the past. I weigh 
them against each othah — balance the disagwee- 
ments — analyze the conflicting statements — decide 
which is pwobably cowwect — and come to a con- 
clusion. That is the scientific method. At least” 
— patronizingly — "as / see it. How insuffewably 
cwude it would be to go to Ahctuwus, oah to Sol. 
foah instance, and blundah about, when the old 
mastahs have covahed the gwound so much moah 
effectually than we could possibly hope to do.” 

Hardin murmured politely, “I see.” 

Scientific method, hell ! No wonder the Galaxy 
was going to pot. 

“Come, milord,” said Pirenne, “I think we had 
better be returning." 

“Ah, yes. P’haps we had." 

As they left the room, Hardin said suddenly, 
“Milord, may I ask a question?" 

Lord Dorwin smiled blandly and emphasized 
his answer with a gracious flutter of the hand. 
"Cuhtainly, my deah fellow. Only too happy to 
be of suhvice. If I can help you in any way 
fwom my pooah stoah of knowledge — " 

“It isn't exactly about archaeology, milord." 


“No. It's this: Last year we received news 

here in Terminus about the explosion of a power 
plant on Planet V of Gamma Andromeda. We 
got the barest outline of the accident — no details 
at all. I wonder if you could tell me exactly 
what happened.” 

Pirenne's mouth twisted. “I wonder you annoy 
his lordship with questions on totally irrelevant 

“Not at all, Doctah Piwenne," interceded the 
chancellor. “It is quite all wight. Theah isn’t 
much to say concuhning it in any case. The powah 
plant did explode and it was quite a catastwo- 
phe, y'know. I believe sevewal million people 
wah killed and at least half the planet was sim- 
ply laid in wuins. Weally, the govuhnment is 
sewiously considewing placing seveah westwic- 
tions upon the indiscwiminate use of atomic 
powah — though that is not a thing for genewal 
publication, y’know." 

"I understand," said Hardin. "But what was 
wrong with the plant?” 

“Well, weally,” replied Lord Dorwin indiffer- 
ently, “who knows? It bad bwoken down some 
yeahs pweviously and it is thought that the we- 
placements and wepaiah wuhk was most infewiah. 
It is so difficult these days to find men who weally 
undahstand the moah technioal details of ouah 
powah systems." And he took a sorrowful pinch 
of snuff. 

“You realize," said Hardin, “that the independ- 



ent kingdoms of the Periphery have lost atomic 
power altogether?” 

“Have they? I’m not at all suhpwised. Bar- 
bawous planets— Oh, but my deah fellow, don't 
call them independent. They ahn’t, y’know. The 
tweaties we’ve made with them ah pwoof posi- 
tive of that. They acknowledge the soveweignty 
of the Empewah. They'd have to, of cohse, oah 
we wouldn’t tweat with them.” 

“That may be so, but they have considerable 
freedom of action.” 

“Yes, I suppose so. Considewable. But that 
scahcely mattahs. The Empiah is fah bettah off, 
with the Pewiphewy thwown upon its own we- 
soahces — as it is, moali oah less. They ahn't any 
good to us, y'know. Most bahbawous planets. 
Scahcely civilized.” 

"They were civilized in the past. Anacreon 
was one of the richest of the outlying provinces. 
I understand it compared favorably with Vega 

“Oh, but, Hahdin, that was centuwies ago. You 
can scahcely dwaw conclusion fwom that. Things 
wah diffewent in the old gweat days. We ahn’t 
the men we used to be, y’know. But, Hahdin, 
come, you ah a most puhsistent chap. I’ve told 
you I simply won’t discuss business today. Doc- 
tah Piwenne did pwepayah me foah you. He told 
me you would twy to badgah me, but I’m fah too 
old a hand foah that. Leave it foah next day.” 
And that was that. 

This was the second meeting of the Board that 
Hardin had attended, if one were to exclude the 
informal talks the Board members had had with 
the now-departed Lord Dorwin. Yet the mayor 
had a perfectly definite idea that at least one 
other, and possibly two or three, had been held, to 
which he had somehow never received an invita- 

Nor, it seemed to him, would he have received 
notification of this one had it not been for the 

At least, it amounted to an ultimatum, though 
a superficial reading of the visigraphed document 
would lead one to suppose that it was a friendly 
interchange of greetings between two potentates. 

Hardin fingered it gingerly. It started off flor- 
idly with a salutation from “His Puissant Maj- 
esty, the King of Anacreon, to his friend and 
brother, Dr. Lewis Pirenne, Chairman of the 
Board of Trustees, of the Encyclopedia Founda- 
tion Number One,” and it ended even more lav- 
ishly with a gigantic, multicolored seal of the 
most involved symbolism. 

But it was an ultimatum just the same. 

Hardin said: “It turned out that we didn’t 

have much time after all — only three months. But 
little as it was, we threw it away unused. This 
thing here gives us a week. What do we do now?” 

Pirenne frowned worriedly. “There must be a 
loophole. It is absolutely unbelievable that they 
would push matters to extremities in the face of 
what Lord Dorwin has assured us regarding the 
attitude of the Emperor and the Empire.” 

Hardin perked up. “I see. You have informed 
the King of Anacreon of this alleged attitude?” 

“I did — after having placed the proposal to the 
Board for a vote and having received unanimous 

"And when did this vote take place?” 

Pirenne climbed onto his dignity. “I do not 
believe I am answerable to you in any way, Mayor 

“All right. I’m not that vitally interested. It’s 
just my opinion that it was your diplomatic trans- 
mission of Lord Dorwin’s valuable contribution 
to the situation” — he lifted the corner of his mouth 
in a sour half-smile— “that was the direct cause 
of this friendly little note. They might have de- 
layed longer otherwise — though I don’t think the 
additional time would have helped Terminus any. 
considering the attitude of the Board." 

Said Yate Fulham: “And just how do you ar- 
rive at that remarkable conclusion, Mr. Mayor?” 
“In a rather simple way. It merely required the 
use of that much-neglected commodity — common 
sense. You see, there is a branch of human knowl- 
edge known as symbolic logic, which can be used 
to prune away all sorts of clogging deadwood 
that clutters up human language.” 

“What about it?" said Fulham. 

“I applied it. Among other things, I applied it 
to this document here. I didn’t really need to 
for myself because I knew what it was all about, 
but I think I can explain it more easily to five 
physical scientists by symbols rather than by 

Hardin removed a few sheets of paper from the 
pad under his arm and spread them out. “I didn’t 
do this myself, by the way," he said. “Muller 
Hoik of the Division of Logic has his name signed 
to the analyses, as you can see.” 

Pirenne leaned over the table to get a better 
view and Hardin continued : “The message from 
Anacreon was a simple problem, naturally, for 
the men who wrote it were men of action rather 
than men of words. It boils down easily and 
straightforwardly to the unqualified statement, 
which in symbols is what you see, and which in 
words, roughly translated, is, ’You give us what 
we want in a week, or we beat the hell out of you 
and take it anyway.’ ” 

There was silence as the five members of the 
Board ran down the line of symbols, and then 
Pirenne sat down and coughed uneasily. 

Hardin said, “No loophole, is there, Dr. Pi- 

“Doesn’t seem to be.” 



“All right." Hardin replaced the sheets. “Be- 
fore you now you see a copy of the treaty be- 
tween the Empire and Anacreon — a treaty, inci- 
dentally, which is signed on the Emperor’s behalf 
by the same Lord Dorwin who was here last week 
— and with it a symbolic analysis.” 

The treaty ran through five pages of fine print 
and the analysis was scrawled out in just under 
half a page. 

“As you see, gentlemen, something like ninety 
percent of the treaty boiled right out of the analy- 
sis as being meaningless, and what we end up with 
can be described in the following interesting man- 
ner : 

“Obligations of Anacreon to the Empire: 

“Powers of the Empire over Anacreon: None!” 
Again the five followed the reasoning anxiously, 
checking carefully back to the treaty, and when 
they were finished, Pirenne said in a worried fash- 
ion, “That seems to be correct.” 

“You admit, then, that the treaty is nothing but 
a declaration of total independence on the part 
of Anacreon and a recognition of that status by 
the Empire?" 

“It seems so.” 

"And do you suppose that Anacreon doesn’t 
realize that, and is not anxious to emphasize the 
position of independence — so that it would natu- 
rally tend to resent any appearance of threats from 
the Empire? Particularly when it is evident that 
the Empire is powerless to fulfill any such threats, 
or it would never have allowed independence.” 
“But then,” interposed Sutt, “how would Mayor 
Hardin account for Lord Dorwin's assurances of 
Empire support? They seemed — " He shrugged. 
“Well, they seemed satisfactory.” 

Hardin threw himself back in the chair. “You 
know, that’s the most interesting part of the whole 
business. I’ll admit I had thought his lordship 
a most consummate donkey when I first met him 
— but it turned out that he was actually an accom- 
plished diplomat and a most clever man. I took 
the liberty of recording all his statements." 

There was a flurry, and Pirenne opened his 
mouth in horror. 

“What of it?" demanded Hardin. "I realize it 
was a gross breach of hospitality and a thing no 
so-called gentleman would do. Also, that if his 
lordship had caught on, things might have been 
unpleasant: but he didn't, and I have the record, 
and that’s that. I took that record, had it copied 
out and sent that to Hoik for analysis, also." 
Lundin Crast said, “And where is the analysis?” 
“That,” replied Hardin, “is the interesting 
thing. The analysis was the most difficult of the 
three by all odds. When Hoik, after two days of 
steady work, succeeded in eliminating meaning- 
less statements, vague gibberish, useless qualifi- 
cations — in short, all the goo and dribble — he 

found he had nothing left. Everything canceled 

“Lord Dorwin, gentlemen, in five days of dis- 
cussion didn’t say one damned thing, and said it 
so you never noticed. There are the assurances 
you had from your precious Empire.” 

Hardin might have placed an actively working 
stench bomb upon the table and created no more 
confusion than existed after his last statement. 
He waited, with weary patience, for it to die down. 

“So,” he concluded, “when you sent threats — 
and that’s what they were — concerning Empire 
action to Anacreon, you merely irritated a mon- 
arch who knew better. Naturally, his ego would 
demand immediate action, and the ultimatum is 
the result — which brings me to my original state- 
ment. We have one week left and what do we 
do now?" 

“It seems,” said Sutt, "that we have no choice 
but to allow Anacreon to establish military bases 
on Terminus." 

“I agree with you there," replied Hardin, “but 
what do we do toward kicking them off again at 
the first opportunity?” 

Yate Fulham's mustache twitched. “That sounds 
as if you have made up your mind that violence 
must be used against them.” 

“Violence," came the retort, “is the last refuge 
of the incompetent. But I certainly don't intend 
to lay down the welcome mat and brush off the 
best furniture for their use.” 

“I still don’t like the way you put that," insisted 
Fulham. “It is a dangerous attitude; the more 
dangerous because we have noticed lately that a 
sizable section of the populace seems to respond 
to all your suggestions just so. I might as well 
tell you, Mayor Hardin, that the Board is not 
quite blind to your recent activities." 

He paused and there was general agreement. 
Hardin shrugged. 

Fulham went on: “If you were to inflame the 
City into an act of violence, you would achieve 
elaborate suicide — and we don’t intend to allow 
that. Our policy has but one cardinal principle, 
and that is the Encyclopedia. Whatever we de- 
cide to do or not to do will be so decided because 
it will be the measure required to keep that En- 
cyclopedia safe." 

“Then,” said Hardin, “you come to the conclu- 
sion that we must continue our intensive campaign 
of doing nothing.” 

Pirenne said bitterly: “You have yourself dem- 
onstrated that the Empire cannot help us ; though 
how and why it can be so, I don't understand. If 
compromise is necessary — " 

Hardin had the nightmarelike sensation of run- 
ning at top speed and getting nowhere. “There 
is no compromise? Don’t you realize that this 
bosh about military bases is- a particularly in- 



ferior grade of drivel? Haut Rodric told us what 
Anacreon was after — outright annexation and im- 
position of its own feudal system of landed estates 
and peasant-aristocracy economy upon us. What 
is left of our bluff of atomic power may force 
them to move slowly, but they will move none- 

He had risen indignantly, and the rest rose with 
him — except for Jord Fara. 

And then Jord Fara spoke. "Everyone will 
please sit down. We’ve gone quite far enough, I 
think. Come, there's no use looking so furious, 
Mayor Hardin; none of us have been committing 

"You’ll have to convince me of that!” 

Fara smiled gently. "You know you don’t mean 
that. Let me speak!” 

His little shrewd eyes were half closed, and the 
perspiration gleamed on the smooth expanse of 
his chin. “There seems no point in concealing 
that the Board has come to the decision that the 
real solution to the Anacreonian problem lies in 
what is to be revealed to us when the First Vault 
opens six days from now." 

“Is that your contribution to the matter?” 

“We are to do nothing, is that right, except to 
wait in quiet serenity and utter faith for the deus 
ex machina to pop out of the First Vault?” 
"Stripped of your emotional phraseology, that’s 
the idea.” 

“Such unsubtle escapism! Really, Dr. Fara, 
such folly smacks of genius. A lesser mind would 
be incapable of it.” 

Fara smiled indulgently. “Your taste in epi- 
grams is amusing, Hardin, but out of place. As 
a matter of fact, I think you remember my line 
of argument concerning the First Vault about 
three weeks ago.” 

“Yes. I remember it. I don’t deny that it was 
anything but a stupid idea from the standpoint 
of deductive logic alone. You said — stop me when 
I make a mistake— that Hari Seldon was the great- 
est psychologist in the System; that, hence, he 
could foresee the tight and uncomfortable spot 
we’re in now; that, hence, he established the First 
Vault as a method of telling us the way out.” 
“You’ve got the essence of the idea.” 

“Would it surprise you to hear that I’ve given 
considerable thought to the matter these last 

“Very flattering. With what result?” 

“With the result that pure deduction is found 
wanting. Again what is needed is a little sprin- 
kling of common sense.” 

“For instance?” 

“For instance, if he foresaw the Anacreonian 
mess, why not have placed us on some other planet 
nearer the Galactic centers? Why put us out here 

at all if he could see in advance the break in com- 
munication lines, our isolation from the Galaxy, 
the threat of our neighbors — and our helplessness 
because of the lack of metals on Terminus? That 
above all! Or if he foresaw all this, why not 
have warned the original settlers in advance that 
they might have had time to prepare, rather than 
wait, as he is doing, until one foot is over the 
cliff, before doing so? 

“And don’t forget this. Even though he could 
foresee the problem then, we can see it equally 
well now. Therefore, if he could foresee the solu- 
tion then, we should be able to see the solution 
now. After all, Seldon was not a magician. There 
are no trick methods of escaping from a dilemma 
that he can see and we can’t.” 

“But, Hardin,” reminded Fara, “we can't!” 

"But you haven’t tried. You haven’t tried once. 
First, you refused to admit that there was a men- 
ace at all! Then you reposed an absolutely blind 
faith in the Emperor! Now you’ve shifted it to 
Hari Seldon. Throughout you have invariably 
relied on authority or on the past— never on your- 

His fists balled spasmodically. “It amounts to 
a diseased attitude — a conditioned reflex that 
shunts aside the independence of your minds 
whenever it is a question of opposing authority. 
There seems no doubt ever in your minds that the 
Emperor is more powerful than you are, or Hari 
Seldon wiser. And that’s wrong, don’t you see?” 

For some reason, no one cared to answer him. 

Hardin continued: “It isn’t just you. It’s the 
whole Galaxy. Pirenne heard Lord Dorwin’s idea 
of scientific research. Lord Dorwin thought the 
way to be a good archaeologist was to read all 
the books on the subject — written by men who 
were dead for centuries. He thought that the 
way to solve archaeological puzzles was to weigh 
opposing authorities. And Pirenne listened and 
made no objections. Don’t you see that there’s 
something wrong with that?” 

Again the note of near-pleading in his voice. 
Again no answer. 

He went on: “And you men and half of Ter- 
minus as well are just as bad. We sit here, con- 
sidering the Encyclopedia the all-in-all. We con- 
sider the greatest end of science to be the classi- 
fication of past data. It is important, but is there 
no further work to be done? We’re receding and 
forgetting, don’t you see? Here in the Periphery 
they’ve lost atomic power. In Gamma Andromeda, 
a power plant has blown up because of poor re- 
pairs, and the Chancellor of the Empire complains 
that atomic technicians are scarce. And the so- 
lution? To train new ones? Never! Instead, 
they’re to restrict atomic power." 

And for the third time: “Don’t you see? It's 


Galaxy-wide. It’s a worship of the past. It’s a 
deterioration — a stagnation!” 

He stared from one to the other and they gazed 
fixedly at him. 

Fara was the first to recover. “Well, mystical 
philosophy isn’t going to help us here. Let us 
be concrete. Do you deny that Hari Seldon could 
easily have worked out historical trends of the 
future by simple psychological technique?” 

"No, of course not,” cried Hardin. “But we 
can’t rely on him for a solution. At best, he 
might indicate the problem, but if ever there is 
to be a solution, we must work it out ourselves. 
He can’t do it for us.” 

Fulham spoke suddenly. "What do you mean 
— ‘indicate the problem’? We know the problem.” 
Hardin whirled on him. “You think you do? 
You think Anacreon is all Hari Seldon is likely 
to be worried about. I disagree ! I tell you, gen- 
tlemen, that as yet none of you has the faintest 
conception of what is really going on.” 

“And you do?” questioned Pirenne, hostilely. 

“I think so!” Hardin jumped up and pushed 
his chair away. His eyes were cold and hard. 
“If there’s one thing that’s definite, it is that 
there’s something smelly about the whole situa- 
tion ; something that is bigger than anything we've 
talked about yet. Just ask yourself this question: 
Why was it that among the original population of 
the Foundation not one first-class psychologist 
was included, except Bor Alurin? And he care- 
fully refrained from training his pupils in more 
than the fundamentals.” 

A short silence and Fara said: “All right. 


“Perhaps because a psychologist might have 
caught on to what this was all about — and too 
soon to suit Hari Seldon. As it is, we've been 
stumbling about, getting misty glimpses of the 
truth and no more. And that is what Hari Seldon 

He laughed harshly. “Good day, gentlemen!” 
He stalked out of the room. 

Mayor Hardin chewed at the end of his cigar. 
It had gone out but he was past noticing that. He 
hadn’t slept the night before and he had a good 
idea that he wouldn’t sleep this coming night. 
His eyes showed it. 

He said wearily, “And that covers it?” 

“I think so.” Yohan Lee put a hand to his chin. 
“How does it sound?” 

“Not too bad. It’s got to be done, you under- 
stand, with impudence. That is, there is to be no 
hesitation; no time to allow them to grasp the 
situation. Once we are in a position to give or- 
ders, why, give them as though you were born 
to do so, and they'll obey out of habit. That’s the 
essence of a coup.” 

“If the Board remains irresolute for even — ” 
“The Board? Count them out. After tomor- 
row, their importance as a factor in Terminus 
affairs won’t matter a rusty half-credit.” 

Lee nodded slowly. “Yet it is strange that 
they’ve done nothing to stop us so far. You say 
they weren’t entirely in the dark.” 

“Fara indicated as much. And Pirenne’s been 
suspicious of me since I was elected. But, you 
see, they never had the capacity of really under- 
standing what was up. Their whole training has 
been authoritarian. They are sure that the Em- 
peror, just because he is the Emperor, is all-pow- 
erful. And they are sure that the Board of Trust- 
ees, simply because it is the Board of Trustees 
acting in the name of the Emperor, cannot be in 
a position where it does not give the orders. That 
incapacity to recognize the possibility of revolt 
is our best ally.” 

He heaved out of his chair and went to the water 
cooler. “They’re not bad fellows, Lee, when they 
stick to their Encyclopedia — and we'll see that 
that’s where they stick in the future. They’re 



hopelessly incompetent when it comes to ruling 
Terminus. Go away, now, and start things roll- 
ing. I want to be alone." 

He sat down on the corner of his desk and 
stared at the cup of water. 

Space! If only he were as confident as he pre- 
tended! The Anacreonians were landing in two 
days and what had he to go on but a set of no- 
tions and half-guesses as to what Hari Seldon had 
been driving at these past fifty years? He wasn’t 
even a real, honest-to-goodness psychologist — just 
a fumbler with a little training trying to outguess 
the greatest mind of the age. 

If Fara were right; if Anacreon were all the 
problem Hari Seldon had foreseen; if the Ency- 
clopedia were all he was interested in preserving 
— then what price coup d'Stat? 

He shrugged and drank his water. 

The First Vault was furnished with consider- 
ably more than six chairs, as though a larger com- 
pany had been expected. Hardin noted that 
thoughtfully and seated himself wearily in a cor- 
ner just as far from the other five as possible. 

The Board members did not seem to object to 
that arrangement. They spoke among themselves 
in whispers, which fell off into sibilant mono- 
syllables, and then into .nothing at all. Of them 
all, only Jord Fara seemed even reasonably calm. 
He had produced a watch and was staring at It 

Hardin glanced at his own watch and then at 
the glass cubicle— absolutely empty— that domi- 
nated half the room. It was the only unusual fea- 
ture of the room, for aside from that there was 
no indication that somewhere a speck of radium 
was wasting away toward that precise moment 
when a tumbler would fall, a connection be made 
and — 

The lights went dim! 

They didn’t go out, but merely yellowed and 
sank with a suddenness that made Hardin jump. 
He had lifted his eyes to the ceiling lights in 
startled fashion, and when he brought them down 
the glass cubicle was no longer empty. 

A figure occupied it— a figure in a wheel chair! 

It said nothing for a few moments, but it closed 
the book upon its lap and fingered it idly. And 
then it smiled, and the face seemed all alive. 

It said, “I am Hari Seldon.” The voice was old 
and soft. 

Hardin almost rose to acknowledge the intro- 
duction and stopped himself in the act. 

The voice continued conversationally: “I can't 
see you, you know, so I can’t greet you properly. 

I don’t even know how many of you there are, 
so all this must be conducted informally. If any 
of you are standing, please sit down; and if you 
care to smoke, I wouldn’t mind.” There was a 

light chuckle. “Why should I? I’m not really 

Hardin fumbled for a cigar almost automati- 
cally, but thought better of it. 

Hari Seldon put away his book — as if laying it 
upon a desk at his side — and when his fingers let 
go, it disappeared. 

He said : “It is fifty years now since this Foun- 
dation was established — fifty years in which the 
members of the Foundation have been ignorant 
of what it was they were working toward. It was 
necessary that they be ignorant, but now the neces- 
sity is gone. 

“The Encyclopedia Foundation, to begin with, 
is a fraud, and always has been!” 

There was the sound of a scramble behind Har- 
din and one or two muffled exclamations, but he 
did not turn around. 

Hari Seldon was, of course, andisturbed. He 
went on: “It is a fraud in the sense that neither 
I nor my colleagues care at all whether a single 
volume of the Encyclopedia is ever published. It 
has served its purpose, since by it we extracted an 
imperial charter from the Emperor, by it we at- 
tracted the hundred thousand scientists necessary 
for our scheme, and by it we managed to keep 
them preoccupied while events shaped themselves, 
until it was too latt for any of them to draw back. 

“In the fifty years that you have worked on 
this fraudulent project — there is no use in soften- 
ing phrases — your retreat has been cut off, and 
you have now no choice but to proceed on the 
infinitely more important project that was, and is, 
our real plan. 

“To that end we have placed you on such a 
planet and at such a time that in fifty years you 
were maneuvered to the point where you no longer 
have freedom of action. From now on, and into 
the centuries, the path you must take is inevi- 
table. You will be faced with a series of crises, 
as you are now faced with the first, and in each 
case your freedom of action will become similarly 
circumscribed so that you will be forced along 
one, and only one, path. 

“It is that path which our psychology has 
worked out — and for a reason. 

“For centuries Galactic civilization has stag- 
nated and declined, though only a few ever real- 
ized that. But now, at last, the Periphery is break- 
ing away and the political unity of the Empire is 
shattered. Somewhere in the fifty years just past 
is where the historians of the future will place an 
arbitrary line and say: ‘This marks the Fall of 
the Galactic Empire.’ 

“And they will be right, though scarcely any 
will recognize that Fall for additional centuries. 

“And after the Fall will come inevitable bar- 
barism, a period which, our psychohistory tells 
us, should, under ordinary circumstances, last 



from thirty to fifty thousand years. We cannot 
stop the Fall. We do not wish to; for Empire 
culture has lost whatever virility and worth it 
once had. But we can shorten the period of bar- 
barism that must follow— down to a single thou- 
sand of years. 

“The ins and outs of that shortening, we cannot 
tell you; just as we could not tell you the truth 
about the Foundation fifty years ago. Were you 
to discover those ins and outs, our plan might 
fail; as it would have, had you penetrated the 
fraud of the Encyclopedia earlier; for then, by 
knowledge, your freedom of action would be ex- 
panded and the number of additional variables 
introduced would become greater than our psy- 
chology could handle. 

“But you won't, for there are no psychologists 
on Terminus, and never were, but for Alurin — 
and he was one of us. 

“But this I can tell you: Terminus and its 

companion Foundation at the other end of the 
Galaxy are the seeds of the Renascence and the 
future founders of the Second Galactic Empire. 
And it is the present crisis that is starting Ter- 
minus off to that climax. 

“This, by the way, is a rather straightforward 
crisis, much simpler than many of those that are 
ahead. To reduce it to its fundamentals, it is this: 
You are a planet suddenly cut off from the still- 
civilized centers of the Galaxy, and threatened by 
your stronger neighbors. You are a small world 
of scientists surrounded by vast and rapidly ex- 
panding reaches of barbarism. You are an island 
of atomic power in a growing ocean of more 
primitive energy; but are helpless despite that, 
because of your lack of metals. 

“You see, then, that you are faced by hard ne- 


If Asimov’s little puzzle in “Foundation" is not 
obvious to you — the elements necessary for the 
solution are all there — you’ll be doubly interested 
in "Bridle and Saddle,” coming next issue. It's 
a sequel to “Foundation,” and the second of a 
series that looks to me as though it had nice pos- 
sibilities. There are, really, two stages in a cul- 
ture that produce eras of romantic adventure; 
when it is collapsing, and when, renascent, it is 
coming out of its eclipse into a new form. Asimov 
has in mind a series that will follow the collapse 
of the Empire, and watch the tides of the new 
barbarism trying to tear down the Foundation. 
Animals of a species don’t like, and try to destroy, 
other individuals of the species which are differ- 
ent. Cultures — even collapsing, barbaric cultures 
— tend to hate and want to destroy the different 
and higher cultures near them, if they can. 

“Bridle and Saddle” gives a nice answer to a 
stiff problem. 

Lester del Rey is back again next month with 

cessity, and that action is forced on you. The 
nature of that action — that is, the solution to your 
dilemma — is, of course, obvious!” 

The image of Hari Seldon reached into open 
air and the book once more appeared in his hand. 
He opened it and said: 

"But whatever devious course your future his- 
tory may take, impress it always upon your de- 
scendants that the path has been marked out, and 
that at its end is new and greater Empire I” 

And as his eyes bent to his book, he flicked into 
nothingness, and the lights brightened once more. 

Hardin looked up to see Pirenne facing him, 
eyes tragic and lips trembling. 

The chairman’s voice was firm but toneless. 
“You were right, it seems. If you will see us 
tonight at six, the Board will consult with you 
as to the next move.” 

They shook his hand, each one, and left; and 
Hardin smiled to himself. They were fundamen- 
tally sound at that; for they were scientists 
enough to admit that they were wrong — but for 
them, it was too late. 

He looked at his watch. By this time, it was 
all over. Lee’s men were in control and the Board 
was giving orders no longer. 

The Anacreonians were landing their first space- 
ships tomorrow, but that was all right, too. In 
six months, they would be giving orders no longer. 

In fact, as Hari Seldon had said, and as Salvor 
Hardin had guessed since the day that Anselm 
haut Rodric had first revealed to him Anacreon's 
lack of atomic power — the solution to this first 
crisis was obvious. 

Obvious as all hell! 



“My Name Is Legion," which is unquestionably 
a story of pure wish-fulfillment character. I im- 
agine that most of us have, at various times dur- 
ing the past couple of years, devoted a certain 
amount of cogitation to the problem of just what 
would make a really suitable handling of the Hit- 
ler problem. Not the Nazi problem — the more 
personal one of what Herr Schickelgruber really 
needs in a personal way. The Elba-St. Helena 
sort of thing may have sufficed for Napoleon, but 
somehow it doesn’t seem adequate for Hitler. 

Del Rey proposes one of the neatest forms of 
exile and punishment I’ve seen. The nicest part 
about it would be that you’d have a chance to 
observe the entire course of the exile. 

Del Rey himself, incidentally, is temporarily 
out of action due to an argument with a piece of 
ice, a concrete sidewalk, and the law of gravity. 
The ice ran out on him, and the law of gravity 
won over a bone. A cracked vertebra is no fun. 

The Editor. 



Got a piece of paper and pencil handy? All 
fight — take this down : “The Days of Creation,” 
by Willy Ley, published by Modern Age Books, 
New York — 320 pp., illustrated. $2.75. 

Don’t borrow this book. Buy it. Buy two copies 
if you can afford it, one for yourself and one to 
loan to your friends. 

Now don’t misunderstand me. Neither I, nor 
Street & Smith, have any financial interest in the 
transaction. This is pure love, unsolicited ad- 
miration. I wish I had written it. I wish I could 
write it. 

All right, all right — I’ll get around to telling 
what the book is about. Don’t rush me. It is a 
short biography of the Universe, starting with “In 
the beginning” and closing with the Age of Man — 
and a brief, thrilling prophecy of the future. This 
book does not discuss the politics and wars of the 
human race; it discusses everything else. This 
book is the nearest thing to a complete picture of 
the world we live in I recall having seen; it may 
be the best such picture possible for one book, one 
author, this date. 

Mr. Ley has arranged his account to parallel that 
given in the first chapter of Genesis, not only be- 
cause that arrangement is simple, dramatic and 
familiar, but also because the account in Genesis 
is, bearing in mind differences in language and 
its extreme brevity, remarkably similar to modern 
scientific conception. The book has seven chapters, 
the Seven Days of Creation ; the appropriate verses 
from Genesis stand as chapter headings. But do 
not let me lead you into thinking that the work is 
an attempt to reconcile “Science" and “Religion.” 
I had better let the author speak for himself on 
that point. After discussing, in the preface, the 
amazing and delightful similarity between almost 
all ancient accounts of creation, he says: 

“Not reasons of high philosophy nor attempts to 
reconcile ideas that need no reconciling, but the 
pure joy of comparing two stories, each of them 
fascinating in itself and doubly so when regarded 

First Day: “Let There Be Light.” A sparkling 
account of all the stories of the origin of the 
physical universe, mythological, classical and mod- 
ern, with detailed rendering of best to date. Cos- 
mogony, astronomy, astrophysics and modern 
nuclear physics. 

Second Day: “The Division of the Waters.” 
From cosmogony we proceed to geogony, to 
geology, to biology and the first appearance of life 
on this planet. 

Third Day: “The Conquest of the Land." 

Paleontology and genetics combine to explain the 
story of how Life made the incredible jump from 
the seas to the barren, sterile, forbidding rocks of 
the shore. 

Fourth Day: “The Great New Invention.” It 
is alleged that a devout Moslem rug weaver will 
always introduce an imperfection into his pattern, 
as Allah alone is perfect. It is almost a pleasure 
to find, or seem to find, a fault in Willy Ley. It 
restores one’s own self-confidence. There are two 
“Great Inventions” in this chapter; I am not sure 
to which the title refers. One is — quite seriously! 
— seasons. The other is warm-bloodedness. One 
led to the other. After a considerable period, some 
millions of years, of uniform climate, things began 
to happen to the weather — hot days and cold 
nights, winter snow and summer sun, tropical ages 
and ice ages. Some of the animals acquired a 
built-in thermostat and ceased being reptiles. 

Geology, meteorology, vulcanology, paleontol- 
ogy, genetics, chemistry and a seasoning of other 
sciences, suffices to get us through this chapter. 
But do not be alarmed — this is a lecture course 
with no prerequisites; Ley supplies all the neces- 
sary information, wittily and charmingly. 

Fifth Day: “The Triumph of the Reptiles.” 

See Disney’s “Fantasia." Better yet, see Ley's 
“Days of Creation.” I am very fond of stegosauri 
and still more so of triceratops, but these self- 
contained panzer divisions have received more than 
their share of publicity — I won't add to it. But 
Mr. Ley gives them their due, with no bonus. 

Sixth Day: “The Glory of the Mammals.” We 
can’t all live near the Bronx Zoo, and, anyhow, 
some of them have been in the La Brea tar pits — 
which means the “tar pit” tar pits — a long time. 
Smylodon, and the lovely short-faced bear, and 
many others. 

Seventh Day: “The Consolidation of Brain 

Power.” Man got here late, and poorly equipped — 
naked, soft, unarmed and unarmored. He had to 
be smart — or die. But other animals had brains, 
too. Just what was it he had that brought him 
to the top? And will he stay there? Buy the 

Mr. Ley has convinced me that Man will stay 
on top. I now believe that Doc Smith’s most 
supergalactic dreams are no more than hard- 
headed prediction. The book concludes with a 
prophetic peroration which should cheer up the 
faint-hearted these depressing days. 

Thank you, Willy Ley! 

R. A. Heinlein. 


By Anson MacDonald 

• Second of Two Ports. If the world were perfect, working 
smoothly, without fuss or strain— why live? What's the purpose? 
That was Hamilton Felix's question. But in essence he found 
answer enough in two things that were no answer to that— 

Illustrated by Rogers 


Part One of Anson MacDonald's story is, itself, al- 
most a synopsis, covering an outline of three hundred 
years of history of controlled genetics and the civiliza- 
tion it has brought into being. 

The manners of the time, the whole system of thought, 
grows out of the system of genetic control that makes 
it certain that every couple will have, if they want, the 
best possible child their heredity makes possible — not 
just any haphazard assemblage of good and bad charac- 
teristics each parent might contribute. One added fac- 

tor helps to improve the manners, politeness, and speed 
of reflexes in the race. Dueling is common, and the 
weapons used are exceedingly potent, and usually deadly. 
Bad manners, quarrelsome disposition, thoughtlessness 
for another's welfare and slow reSexes are, under those 
circumstances, practically certain sudden death. Unless, 
of course, one chooses the refuge of the "brassard of 
peace" — an armband disclaiming ability to protect one- 

Hamilton Felix is a professional inventor of super- 
pinball machines, gambling gadgets for amusement places. 



He does that because he can do so without effort, and 
he refuses to make any real effort — for a reason. He’s 
a second-line genius, an exceedingly brilliant man — and 
intelligent enough to know that he is not and can't be 
a first-line genius, one of the philosopher-kings of the 
time, a synthesist who takes as his field of knowledge and 
effort all human knowledge. He can't take first prize; 
he sees no point in trying hard to take second prize. 

Mordan Claude is a synthesist, the Genetics Moderator 
in whose department is the duty of maintaining the op- 
eration of the genetic selection service. He has called 
Hamilton Felix in originally because Felix represents a 
"star line" — a combination of favorable mutations which 
the Genetics Department has been following and nur- 
turing for two centuries. Felix is unmarried, and Mor- 
dan wants the extremely valuable characteristics of the 
Hamilton line carried on. Particularly, he'd like to see 
Felix marry Longcourt Phyllis, a fifth cousin who repre- 
sents a different but parallel "star line" of heredity. 
The combination of favorable characteristics possible 
to their children, Mordan assures him, would unques- 
tionably guarantee that Felix's son would be a synthesist. 

Hamilton Felix — though taken by Longcourt Phyllis, 
who is naturally (being the high type a star-line heredity 
necessitates) a thoroughly vital and stimulating sort of 
person — is not at all taken with the idea. He propounds 
a problem for Mordan to solve: Why should a human 

being live ? What's the purpose of it? If Mordan will 
give him an answer to that, or the beginnings of an an- 
swer. he'll be willing to consider co-operation. 

But in the meantime, Hamilton's gotten another in- 
volvement; McFee Norbert and bis friends of the "Sur- 
vivors Club" have approached Felix, and he has joined 
them for bis own reasons. They propose setting up a 
new government, using the possibilities of genetic con- 
trol to produce not better, normal humans, but special- 
ized semihuman beings, some all brain, some all muscle. 
They will, of course, rule this new State themselves, 
after murdering the present rulers. 

They are, actually, a group of third-rate geniuses, 
faced with a problem parallel to that of Hamilton Felix 
— they can’t become synthesists because they haven't 
the mental equipment it takes — but differ from him in 
one feature: they haven't wit enough to know they 
haven’t the ability. 

Hamilton Felix's reason for joining is simple; he isn't 
entirely content with the present set-up, but he's com- 
pletely certain that the proposed set-up would be horrible. 
They have asked Hamilton to join for three reasons; 
his wealth, his intelligence, and because they know they 
will need good heredity stock after the revolution. Ham- 
ilton joined to make sure he found out, and so could 
report to Mordan, all of those involved. 

To his annoyance and surprise, he discovers that Mon- 
roe-Alpha Clifford, a good friend of his, has joined. 
Clifford is a statistician, a one-track mind, and something 
of a mental lightweight with a tendency to blow hot and 
blow cold over fads. This is simply his latest, but one 
in which he is, now, very sincere. And, unfortunately, 
it's one that is apt to prove very deadly. He had been 
a lukewarm supporter — being fundamentally soft-hearted 
— because of the problem of what to do with "control 
naturals" — people who were born without benefit of the 
genetic selection methods and who, therefore, are im- 
perfect, subject to such archaic troubles as colds, tooth- 
ache and kidney failure. 

But recently J. Darlington Smith had been released at 
last from the famous "Time Stasis," a volume of space 
in the Adirondacks that had been somehow put into a 
condition of absolute time stasis in 1926. The secret 
had been solved only recently, and that secret gave Mc- 

Fee Norbert an answer to his problem of satisfying the 
soft-hearted. The new government’s undesirables would 
simply be filed indefinitely in time-stasis condition. 
With that understanding, Monroe-Alpha is wholeheart- 
edly willing to co-operate when at last the zero hour is 
announced. He starts out to do his share in wrecking 
the government — and Hamilton Felix, knowing that 
Mordan and the whole government knows about the 
revolution, follows and stops him. 


“Felix I What do you mean? What’s come over 
you?" His expression was so completely sur- 
prised, so utterly innocent of wrongdoing, that 
Hamilton was momentarily disconcerted. Was it 
possible that Monroe-Alpha, like himself, was in 
it as an agent of the government and knew that 
Hamilton was one also? 

“Wait a minute," he said grimly. "What's your 
status here? Are you loyal to the Survivors Club, 
or are you in it as a spy?" 

“A spy? Did you think I was a spy? Was that 
why you grabbed my gun?” 

"No,” Hamilton answered savagely, "I was afraid 
you weren’t a spy." 

"But- — " 

"Get this. I am a spy. I'm in this thing to bust 
it up. And, damn it, if I were a good one, I’d blow 
your head off and get on with my work. You 
bloody fool, you’ve gummed the whole thing up!” 

"But . . . but, Felix, I knew you were in it. That 
was one of the things that persuaded me. I knew 
you wouldn’t — ” 

“Well, I’m not! Where does that put you? 
Where do you stand? Are you with me, or against 

Monroe-Alpha looked from Hamilton’s face to 
the gun in his fist, then back to his face. “Go 
ahead and shoot,” he said. 

"Don’t be a fool!" 

“Go ahead. I may be a fool — I’m not a traitor." 

"Not a traitor — you! You’ve already sold out 
the rest of us.” 

Monroe-Alpha shook his head. “I was born into 
this culture. I had no choice and I owe it no loy- 
alty. Now I’ve had a vision of a worth-while so- 
ciety. I won’t sacrifice it to save my own skin.” 

Hamilton swore. “ ’God deliver us from an 
idealist.' Would you let that gang of rats run the 

The telephone said softly but insistently, “Some- 
one’s calling. Someone’s calling. Someone’s — ’’ 
They ignored it. 

"They aren’t rats. They propose a truly scien- 
tific society and I’m for it. Maybe the Change will 
be a little harsh but that can’t be helped. It’s for 
the best — ” 

“Shut up. I haven't time to argue ideologies 
with you.” He stepped toward Monroe-Alpha, 
who drew back a little, watching him. 



Hamilton suddenly, without taking his eyes off 
Monroe-Alpha’s face, kicked him in the groin. 
"Someone’s calling. Someone’s calling.” Hamil- 
ton holstered his gun — fast — bent over the disabled 
man and punched him in the pit of the stomach, 
not with his fist but with stiffened fingers. It was 
nicely calculated to paralyze the diaphragm — and 
did. He dragged Monroe-Alpha to a point under 
the telephone, placed a knee in the small of his 
back and seized his throat with the left hand. 

“One move is all you’ll get,” he warned. With 
his right hand he cut in the phone. His face was 
close to the pickup; nothing else would be trans- 

McFee Norbert’s face appeared in the frame. 
“Hamilton !” he said. “What in hell are you doing 

“I went home with Monroe-Alpha.” 

"That’s direct disobedience. You’ll answer for 
it — later. Where’s Monroe-Alpha?" 

Hamilton gave a brief, false, but plausible, ex- 

"A fine time to have to do that,” McFee com- 
mented. “Give him these orders: He is relieved 
from duty. Tell him to get as far away and stay 
away, for forty-eight hours. I’ve decided to take 
no chances with him." 

“Right," said Hamilton. 

“And you — do you realize how near you came 
to missing your orders? You should be in action 
ten minutes before the section group moves in. 
Get going.” 



Hamilton cleared the circuit. Monroe-Alpha 
had started to struggle the second the phone came 
to life. Hamilton had ground his knee into his 
spine and clamped down hard on his throat, but it 
was a situation which could not be maintained in- 

He eased up on Monroe-Alpha a little. “You 
heard those orders?" 

“Yes," Monroe-Alpha acknowledged hoarsely. 

“You are going to carry them out. Where’s your 

No answer. Hamilton dug in viciously. “An- 
swer me. On the roof?” 


Hamilton did not bother to answer. He took his 
heavy automatic from its holster and struck Mon- 
roe-Alpha behind his right ear. The man’s head 
jerked once, then sagged limply. Hamilton turned 
to the phone and signaled Mordan’s personal num- 
ber. He waited apprehensively while distant ma- 
chinery hunted, fearful that the report would come 
back, “NOWHERE AVAILABLE.” He was re- 
lieved when the instrument reported instead, 

After an interminable time — all of three or four 
seconds — Mordan’s face lighted up the frame. “Oh 
— hello, Felix.” 

“Claude — the time’s come! This is it.” 

“Yes, I know. That's why I’m here." The back- 
ground behind him showed his office. 

“You — knew?" 

“Yes, Felix.” 

“But — Never mind. I’m coming over.” 

"Yes, certainly.” He cut off. 

Hamilton reflected grimly that one more surprise 
would be just enough to cause him to start picking 
shadows off the wall. But he had no time to worry 
about it. He rushed into his friend’s bedchamber, 
found what he wanted immediately — small pink 
capsules, Monroe-Alpha’s habitual relief from the 
peril of sleepless worry. He returned then and 
examined Monroe-Alpha briefly. He was still out 

He picked him up in his arms, went out into the 
corridor, and sought the lift. He passed one 
startled citizen on the way. Hamilton looked at 
him, said, "Ssssh — You’ll waken him. Open the 
lift for me, will you please?” 

The citizen looked dubious, shrugged, and did as 
he was requested. 

He found Monroe-Alpha’s little skycar without 
trouble, removed the key from his friend’s pocket, 
and opened it. He dumped his burden inside, set 
the pilot for the roof of the clinic, and depressed 
the impeller bar. He had done all he could for the 
moment; in over-city traffic automatic operation 
was faster than manual. It would be five minutes, 
or more, before he reached Mordan, but, even at 
that, he had saved at least ten minutes over what 
it would have taken by tube and slideway. 

It consoled him somewhat for the time he had 
wasted on Monroe-Alpha. 

The man was beginning to stir. Hamilton took 
a cup from the cooler, filled it with water, dis- 
solved three of the capsules in it, and went to 
his side. He slapped him. 

Monroe-Alpha sat up. "Whassa matter?" he 
said. “Stop it. What’s happened?” 

"Drink this,” Hamilton commanded, putting the 
cup to his lips. 

“Wliat happened? My head hurts.” 

“It ought to — you had quite a fall. Drink it. 
You'll feel better.” 

Monroe-Alpha complied docilely. When he had 
finished, Hamilton watched him narrowly, wonder- 
ing if he would have to slug him again before the 
hypnotic took hold. But Monroe-Alpha said noth- 
ing more, seemed still dazed, and shortly was 
sleeping soundly. 

The car grounded gently. 

Hamilton raised the panel of the communicator, 
shoved his foot inside, and pushed. There was a 
satisfying sound of breaking crystal and snapping 
wires. He set the pilot on due south, without des- 



tination, opened the door, and stepped out. He 
turned, reached inside, sought the impeller bar — 
but hesitated without depressing it. He stepped 
back inside and removed the selector key from the 
pilot. He stepped out again, depressed the im- 
peller — and ducked. As the door slammed shut, 
the little runabout angled straight up, seeking 
cruising altitude. 

He did not wait for it to go out of sight, but 
turned and started below. 

Monroe-Alpha awoke with a dry mouth, an ex- 
cruciatingly throbbing head, a nauseous feeling at 
his midriff, and a sense of impending disaster. He 
became aware of these things in that order. 

He knew that he was in the air, in a skycar, and 
alone, but how he had gotten there, why he was 
there, escaped him. He had had some dreadful 
nightmares — they seemed to have some bearing on 
it. There was something he should be doing. 

This was the Day, the Day of the Change! That 
was it I 

But why was he here? He should be with his 
section. No. No, McFee had said — 

What was it he had said? And where was Ham- 
ilton? Hamilton was a spy l Hamilton was about 
to betray them all I 

He must inform McFee at once. Where was he? 
No matter — call him! 

It was then that he found the wrecked commu- 
nicator. And the bright sunlight outside told him 
that it was too late, too late. Whatever had come 
of Hamilton's treachery had already happened. 
Too late. 

The pieces were beginning to fall into place. He 
recalled the ugly interview with Hamilton, the mes- 
sage from McFee, the fight. Apparently he had 
been knocked out. There was nothing left to do 
but to go back, turn himself in to his leader, and 
confess his failure. 

No, McFee had given him orders to stay out, to 
stay away for two days. He must obey. “The 
Whole is greater than the parts." 

But those orders did not apply — McFee had not 
known about Hamilton. 

He knew now. That was certain. Therefore, 
the orders did apply. What was it McFee had 
said? “I’ve decided to take no chances on him.” 

They didn’t trust him. Even McFee knew him 
for what he was — a thumb-fingered idiot who oould 
be depended on to do the wrong thing at the wrong 

He had never been any good. All he was fit for 
was to do fiddling things with numbers. He knew 
it. Everybody knew it. Hazel knew it. If he met 
a girl he liked, the best he could do was to knock 
her off her feet. Hamilton knew it. Hamilton 
hadn’t even bothered to kill him — he wasn't worth 

They hadn’t really wanted him in the Survivors 

Club — not in a pinch. They just wanted him avail- 
able to set up the accounting for the New Order. 
McFee had spoken to him about that, asked him if 
he could do it. Naturally, he could. That’s all he 
was — a clerk. 

Well, if they wanted him for that, he'd do it. He 
wasn't proud. All he asked was to serve. It would 
be a fairly simple matter to set up foolproof ac- 
counting for a collective-type State. It would not 
take him long ; after that, his usefulness ended, he 
would be justified in taking the long sleep. 

He got up, having found some comfort in com- 
plete self-abnegation. He rinsed out his mouth, 
drank more than a liter of water, and felt a little 
better. He rummaged in the larder, opened a seal 
of tomato juice, drank it, and felt almost human, 
in a deeply melancholy way. 

He then investigated his location. The car was 
hovering; it had reached the extreme limit of its 
automatic radius. The ground was concealed by 
clouds, though it was bright sunlight where he 
was. The pilot showed him the latitude and longi- 
tude; a reference to the charts placed him some- 
where over the Sierra Nevada Mountains — almost 
precisely over the Park of the Giant Redwoods, he 

He derived a flicker of interest from that. The 
Survivors Club, in their public social guise, 
claimed the Generalsherman Tree as president 
emeritus. It was a nice jest, he thought — the un- 
killable, perfectly adapted Oldest Living Thing 
on Earth. 

The sabotaged pilot put wrinkles between his 
eyes. He could fly the craft manually, but he 
could not enter the traffic of the Capital until it 
was repaired. He would have to seek some small 
town — 

No, McFee had said to go away and stay away — 
and McFee meant what he said. If he went to any 
town, he would be mixed up in the fighting. 

He did not admit to himself that he no longer 
had any stomach for it — that Hamilton’s words had 
left him with unadmitted doubts. 

Still, it must be repaired. There might be a re- 
pair station at the Park — must be, in fact, in view 
of the tourist traffic. And surely the Change 
would not cause any fighting there. 

He cut in the fog eyes and felt his way down. 

When he grounded a single figure approached. 
“You can’t stay," the man said, when he was in 
earshot. "The Park’s closed.” 

“I've got to have a repair," said Monroe-Alpha. 
"Why is the Park closed?” 

“Can’t say. Some trouble down below. The 
rangers were called on special duty hours ago, and 
we sent the tourists out. There’s nobody here 
but me.” 

“Can you repair?" 

“Could — maybe. What’s the trouble?" 



Monroe-Alpha showed him. “Can you fix it?” 

“Not the talkie box. Might scare up some parts 
for the pilot. What happened? Looks like you 
smashed it yourself.” 

“I didn't." He opened a locker, located his car 
gun, and stuck it in his holster. The caretaker was 
brassarded ; he shut up at once. “I think I’ll take 
a walk while you fix it." 

“Yes, sir. It won't take long.” 

Monroe-Alpha took out his credit folder, tore 
out a twenty-credit note, and handed it to the man. 
“Here. Leave it in the hangar." He wanted to be 
alone, to talk to no one at all, least of all this In- 
quisitive stranger. He turned and walked away. 

He had seen very little of the Big Trees in land- 
ing; he had kept his eyes glued to the fog eyes 
and had been quite busy with the problem of land- 
ing. Nor had he ever been in the Park before. 
True, he had seen pictures — who has not? — but 
pictures are not the trees. He started out, more 
intent on his inner turmoil than on the giants 
around him. 

But the place got him. 

There was no sun, no sky. The trees lost them- 
selves in a ceiling of mist, a remote distance over- 
head. There was no sound. His own footsteps 
lost themselves in a damp carpet of evergreen 
needles. There was no limiting horizon, endless 
succession only of stately columns, slim green 
columns of sugar pine, a mere meter in thickness, 
massive red-brown columns of the great ones them- 
selves. They receded from him on all sides; the 
eye could see nothing but trees — trees, the mist 
overhead, and the carpet of their debris, touched 
in spots by stubborn patches of gray snow. 

An occasional drop of purely local rain fell, 
dripping from the branches far above. 

There was no time there. This had been, was, 
and would be. Time was not. There was no need 
for time here; the trees negated it, ignored it. 
Seasons they might recognize, lightly, as one notes 
and dismisses a passing minute. He had a feeling 
that he moved too frantically for them to notice, 
that he was too small for them to see. 

He stopped, and approached one of the elders, 
cautiously, as befits a junior in dealing with age. 
He touched its coat, timidly at first, then with 
palm-flat pressure, as he gained confidence. It was 
not cool, as bark is, but warm and alive in spite 
of the moisture that clung to it. He drew from 
the tree, through its warm shaggy pelt, a mood of 
tranquil strength. He felt sure, on a level of being 
just below that of word-shaped thoughts, that the 
tree was serene and sure of itself and, in some 
earth-slow somber fashion, happy. 

He was no longer capable of worrying over the 
remote problems of his own ant hill. His scales 
had changed, and the frenetic struggles of that 
other world had faded both in time and distance 
until he no longer discerned their details. 

He came upon the Old One unexpectedly. He 
had been moving through the forest, feeling it 
rather than thinking about it. If there were signs 
warning him of what lay ahead, he had not seen 
them. But he needed no signs to tell him what 
he saw. The other giants had been huge and old; 
this one dwarfed them as they dwarfed the sugar 

Four thousand years it had stood there, main- 
taining, surviving, building its giant thews of liv- 
ing wood. Egypt and Babylon were young with 
it — it was still young. David had sung and died. 
Great Caesar stained the senate floor with his am- 
bitious blood. Mahomet fled. Colon Christofer 
importuned a queen, and the white men found the 
tree, still standing, still green. They named him 
for a man known only through that fact — General- 
sherman. The Generalsherman Tree. 

It had no need of names. It was itself, the eldest 
citizen, quiet, untroubled, alive and unworried. 

He did nqt stay near it long. It helped him, but 
its presence was overpowering to him, as it has 
been to every man who has ever seen it. He went 
back through the woods, finding the company of 
those lesser immortals almost jovial by contrast. 
When he got back near the underground hangar in 
front of which he had left his runabout, he skirted 
around it, not wishing to see anyone as yet. He 
continued on. 

Presently he found his way blocked by a solid 
gray mass of granite which labored on up out of 
sight in the mist. A series of flights of steps, clev- 
erly shaped to blend into the natural rock, wound 
up through its folds. There was a small sign at 
the foot of the steps: MORO ROCK. He recog- 
nized it, both from pictures and a brief glimpse 
he had had of it through the fog in landing. It 
was a great gray solid mass of stone, peak high 
and mountain wide, a fit place for a Sabbat. 

He started to climb. Presently the trees were 
gone. There was nothing but himself, the gray 
mist, and the gray rock. His feeling for up-and- 
down grew shaky; he had to watch his feet and the 
steps to hang on to it. 

Once he shouted. The sound was lost and noth- 
ing came back. 

The way led along a knife edge, on the left a 
sheer flat slide of rock, on the right bottomless 
empty gray nothingness. The wind cut cold across 
it. Then the path climbed the face of the rock 

He began to hurry; he had reached a decision. 
He could not hope to emulate the serene, eternal 
certainty of the old tree — he was not built for it. 
Nor was he built, he felt sure, for the life he knew. 
No need to go back to it, no need to face it out 
with Hamilton nor McFee, whichever won their 
deadly game. Here was a good place, a place to 
die with cleanly dignity. 

There was a clear drop of a thousand meters 
down the face of the rock. 

He reached the top at last and paused, a little 
breathless from his final exertion. He was ready 
and the place was ready — when he saw that he was 
not alone. There was another figure, prone, rest- 
ing on elbows, looking out at the emptiness. 

He turned, and was about to leave. His resolu- 
tion was shaken by the little fact of another’s pres- 
ence. He felt nakedly embarrassed. 

Then she turned and looked at him. Her gaze 
was friendly and unsurprised. He recognized her 
— without surprise, and was surprised that he had 
not been. He saw that she recognized him. 

“Oh, hello,” he said stupidly. 

"Come sit down,” she answered. 

He accepted silently, and squatted beside her. 
She said nothing more at the time, but remained 
resting on one elbow, watching him — not narrowly, 
but with easy quietness. He liked it. She gave 
out warmth, as the redwoods did. 

Presently she spoke. “I intended to speak to 
you after the dance. You were unhappy.” 

“Yes. Yes, that is true." 

“You are not unhappy now." 

“No," he found himself saying and realized with 
a small shock that it was true. “No, I am happy 

They were silent again. She seemed to have no 

need for small speech, nor for restless movement. 
He felt calmed by her manner himself, but his 
own calm was not as deep. “What were you doing 
here?” he asked. 

"Nothing. Waiting for you, perhaps." The an- 
swer was not logical, but it pleased him. 

Presently the wind became more chill and the 
fog a deeper gray. They started down. The way 
seemed shorter this time. He made a show of 
helping her, and she accepted it, although she was 
more sure-footed than he and they both knew it. 
Then they were on the floor of the forest and there 
was no further excuse to touch her hand or arm. 

They encountered a group of mule-deer; a five- 
point buck who glanced at them and returned to 
the serious business of eating, his dignity undis- 
turbed, two does who accepted them with the calm 
assurance of innocence long protected, and three 
fawns. The does were passively friendly, but en- 
joyed being scratched, especially behind the ears. 

The fawns were skittishly curious. They 
crowded around, stepping on their feet and nuz- 
zling their clothes, then would skitter away in sud- 
den alarm at an unexpected movement, their great 
soft ears flopping foolishly. 

The girl offered them leaves plucked from a 
shrub, and laughed when her fingers were nibbled. 
Monroe-Alpha tried it and had to grin — the nib- 



bling tickled. He would have liked to have wiped 
his fingers, but noticed that she did not, and re- 

He felt a compulsion to unburden himself to her, 
as they walked along, and tried to, stumblingly. 
He stopped long before he had made himself clear, 
and looked at her, half expecting to see disgusted 
disapproval in her eyes. There was none. 

“I don’t know what it is you have done,” she 
said, “but you haven’t been bad. Foolish, perhaps, 
but not bad." She stopped, looked a little puzzled, 
and added reflectively, “I’ve never met any bad 

He tried later to describe some of the ideals of 
the Survivors Club. He spoke of the plans for 
dealing with the control naturals as being the 
easiest and clearest to explain. No inhumanity, a 
bare minimum of necessary coercion, a free choice 
between a simple sterilizing operation and a trip to 
the future — all this in the greater interest of the 
race. He spoke of these things as something that 
might be done if the people were wise enough to 
accept it. 

She shook her head. “I don’t think I would care 
for it,” she said gently, but with clear finality. He 
dropped the subject. 

He was surprised when it became dark. “I sup- 
pose we should hurry on to the lodge,” he said. 

“The lodge is closed.” That was true, he remem- 
bered. The Park was closed; they were not sup- 
posed to be there. He started to ask her if she had 
a skycar there, or had she come up through the 
tunnel, but checked himself. Either way, she 
would be leaving him. He did not want that; he 
himself was not pressed for time — his forty-eight 
hours would not be up until the morrow. "I saw 
some cabins as I came this way,” he suggested. 

They found them, nestling half hidden in a hol- 
low. They were unfurnished and quite evidently 
out of service, but strong and weather-tight. He 
rummaged around in the cupboards and found a 
little glow-heater with more than enough charge 
showing on its dial for their needs. Water there 
was, but no food. It did not matter. 

There were not even cushion beds available, but 
the floor was warm and clean. She lay down, 
seemed to nestle out a bed in the floor as an animal 
might, said, “Good night,” and closed her eyes. He 
believed that she went to sleep at once. 

He expected to find it hard to get to sleep, but he 
dozed off before he had time to worry about it. 

When he awoke it was with a sense of well-being 
such as he had not enjoyed in many days — months. 
He did not attempt to analyze it at once, but sim- 
ply savored it, wallowed in it, stretching luxuri- 
ously while his soul fitted itself, catlike, back into 
its leasehold. 

Then he caught sight of her face, across the 
cabin floor, and knew why he felt cheerful. She 

was still asleep, her head cradled on the curve of 
her arm. Bright sun flooded in through the win- 
dow and illuminated her face. It was, he decided, 
not necessarily a beautiful face, although he could 
find no fault with it. Its charm lay more in a 
childlike quality, a look of fresh wonder, as if she 
greeted each new experience as truly new and 
wholly delightful — so different, he thought, from 
the jaundiced melancholy he had suffered from. 

Had suffered from. For he realized that her en- 
thusiasm was infectious, that he had caught it, and 
that he owed his present warm elation to her pres- 

He decided not to wake her. He had much to 
think of, anyhow, before he was ready to talk with 
another. He saw now that his troubles of yester- 
day had been sheer funk. McFee was a careful 
commander; if McFee saw fit to leave him off the 
firing line, he should not complain or question. 
“The Whole was greater than the parts.” McFee’s 
decision was probably inspired by Felix, anyway — 
from the best of intentions. 

Good old Felix! Misguided, but a good sort 
anyhow. He would have to see if he couldn’t in- 
tercede for Hamilton, in the reconstruction. They 
could not afford to hold grudges — the New Order 
had no place for small personal emotions. Logic 
and science. 

There would be much to be done and he could 
still be useful. The next phase started today — 
rounding up control naturals, giving them their 
choice of two humane alternatives. Questioning 
public officials of every sort and determining 
whether or not they were temperamentally suited 
to continue to serve under the New Order. Oh, 
there was much to be done — he wondered why he 
had felt yesterday that there was no place for him. 

Had he been as skilled in psychologies as he was 
in mathematics he might possibly have recognized 
his own pattern for what it was — religious enthu- 
siasm, the desire to be a part of a greater whole 
and to surrender one’s own little worries to the 
keeping of an over-being. He had been told, no 
doubt, in his early instruction, that revolutionary 
political movements and crusading religions were 
the same type-form process, differing only in ver- 
bal tags and creeds, but he had never experienced 
either one before. In consequence, he failed to 
recognize what had happened to him. Religious 
frenzy? What nonsense — he believed himself to 
be an extremely hard-headed agnostic. 

She opened her eyes, saw him and smiled, with- 
out moving. “Good morning,” she said. 

“Good morning,” he agreed. “I neglected to ask 
your name yesterday.” 

“My name is Marion,” she answered. “What’s 

“I am Monroe-Alpha Clifford.” 

“Monroe-Alpha,” she mused. “That’s a good 
line, Clifford. I suppose you — ” She got no fur- 



ther with her remark ; her expression was suddenly 
surprised, she made two gasping quick intakes of 
breath, buried her face in her hands, and sneezed 

Monroe-Alpha sat up abruptly, at once alert and 
no longer happy. She? Impossible! 

But he faced the first test of his new-found reso- 
lution firmly. It was going to be damned unpleas- 
ant, he realized, but he had to do it. “The Whole 
is greater than the parts." 

He even derived unadmitted melancholy satis- 
faction from the realization that he could do his 
duty, no matter how painful. “You sneezed," he 
said accusingly. 

“It was nothing,” she said hastily. “Dust . . . 
dust and the sunshine.” 

“Your voice is thick. Your nose is stopped up. 
Tell me the truth. You’re a ‘natural’ — aren’t you?" 

“You don’t understand," she protested. “I’m a 
... oh, dear!” She sneezed twice in rapid succes- 
sion, then left her head bowed. 

Monroe-Alpha bit his lip. “I hate this as much 
as you do," he said, “but I’m bound to assume that 
you are a control natural until you prove the con- 


“I tried to explain to you yesterday. I’ve got to 
take you in to the Provisional Committee — what 
I was talking about is already an established fact." 
She did not answer him. She just looked. It made 
him still more uncomfortable. “Come now," he 
said. “No need to be tragic about it. You won’t 
have to enter the stasis. A simple, painless opera- 
tion that leaves you unchanged — no disturbance of 
your endocrine balance at all. Besides, there may 
be no need for it. Let me see your tattoo." 

Still she did not answer. He drew his gun and 
leveled it at her. “Don’t trifle with me. I mean 
it.” He lowered his sights and pinged the floor 
just in front of her. She flinched back from the 
burnt wood and the little puff of smoke. “If you 
force me, I'll burn you. I’m not joking. Let me 
see your tattoo.” 

When still she made no move, he got up, went to 
her, grabbed her roughly by the arm, dragging her 
to her feet. “Let’s see your tattoo.” 

She hesitated, then shrugged her shoulders. “All 
right — but you’ll be sorry !” She lifted her left arm. 
As he lowered his head to read the figures tattooed 
near the armpit she brought her hand down sharply 
near the wrist joint of his right hand. At the same 
instant her right fist made a painful surprise in the 
pit of his stomach. 

He dropped his gun. 

He dived after the gun before it had clattered to 
a stop, and was up after her. But she was already 
gone. The cabin door stood open, framing a pic- 
ture of sugar pines and redwoods, but no human 

figure. A blue jay cursed and made a flicker of 
blue; nothing else moved. 

Monroe-Alpha leaped to the door and looked 
both ways, covering the same arc with his weapon, 
but the Giant Forest had swallowed her. She was 
somewhere close at hand, of course ; her flight had 
disturbed the jay. But where? Behind which of 
fifty trees? Had there been snow on the ground 
he would have known, but the snow had vanished, 
except for bedraggled hollows, and the pine needle 
carpet of an evergreen forest left no tracks per- 
ceptible to his untrained eye — nor was it cluttered 
with undergrowth to impede and disclose her 

He cast around uncertainly like a puzzled hound. 
He caught a movement from the corner of his eye, 
turned, saw a flash of white, and fired instantly. 

He had hit — that was sure. His target had fallen 
behind a baby pine which blocked his view, 
thrashed once, and was quiet. He went toward the 
little tree with reluctant steps, intending to finish 
her off mercifully if, by chance, his first bolt had 
merely mutilated her. 

It was not she, but a mule-deer fawn. His 
charge had burnt away half the rump and pene- 
trated far up into the vitals. The movement he 
had seen and heard could have been no more than 
dying reflex. Its eyes were wide open, deer soft, 
and seemed to him to be fiHed with gentle re- 
proach. He turned away at once, feeling a little 
sick. It was the first nonhuman animal he had ever 

He spent only a few minutes more searching for 
her. His sense of duty he quieted by telling him- 
self that she stood no chance of getting away here 
in a mountain forest anyhow, infected, as he knew 
her to be, with a respiratory ailment. She would 
have to give up and turn herself in. 

Monroe-Alpha did not return to the cabin. He 
had left nothing there, anl he assumed that the 
little glow-heater which had kept them warm 
through the night was equipped with automatic 
cut-off. If not, no matter — it did not occur to him 
to weigh his personal convenience against the 
waste involved. He went at once to the parking 
lot underground where he found his runabout, 
climbed in, and started its impeller. There was 
an immediate automatic response from the Park’s 
signal system, evidenced by glowing letters on the 
runabout’s annunciator: NO CRUISING OVER 
SAND AND SCRAMBLE. He obeyed without 
realizing it; his mind was not on the conning of 
the little car. 

His mind was not on anything in particular. 
The lethargy, the bitter melancholy, which had 
enervated him before the beginning of the Re- 
j adjustment, descended on him with renewed force. 
For what good? To what purpose was this blind 



senseless struggle to stay alive, to breed, to fight? 
He drove the little capsule as fast as its impeller 
would shove it straight for the face of Mount 
Whitney, with an unreasoned half-conscious inten- 
tion of making an ending there and then. 

But the runabout was not built to crash. With 
the increase in speed the co-pilot extended the 
range of its feelers; the klystrons informed the 
tracker; solenoids chattered briefly and the car 
angled over the peak. 


As he turned his back on the lifting runabout 
into which he had shanghaied Monroe-Alpha, 
Hamilton dismissed his friend from his mind — 
much to do and damned little time. Hurry I 
He was surprised and not pleased to find that 
the door giving down into the building from the 
roof responded at once to the code used by the 
clinic staff — a combination Mordan had given him. 
Nor were there guards beyond the door. Why, the 
place might as well be wide open! 

He burst into Mordan’s office with the fact on 
his mind. “This place is as unprotected as a 
church,” he snapped. “What’s the idea?" He 
looked around. In addition to Mordan the room 
contained Bainbridge Martha, his chief of techni- 
cal staff, and Longcourt Phyllis. His surprise at 
Phyllis’ presence was reinforced by annoyance at 
seeing she was armed. 

“Good evening, Felix,” Mordan answered mildly. 
“Why should it be protected?” 

“Good grief! Aren’t you going to resist at- 

“But,” Mordan pointed out, “there is no reason 
to expect attack. This is not a strategic point. No 
doubt they plan to take the clinic over later but 
the fighting will be elsewhere.” 

“That’s what you think. I know better.” 


“I was assigned to come here to kill you. A sec- 
tion follows me to seize the clinic.” 

Mordan made no comment. He sat still, face im- 
passive. Hamilton started to speak; Mordan 
checked him with a raised hand. Twenty seconds 
later he said, “There are only three other men in 
the building besides ourselves. None of them are 
gunmen. How much time have we?” 

“Ten minutes — or less.” 

“I’ll inform the central peace station. They may 
be able to divert a few reserve monitors. Martha, 
send the staff home.” He turned to the telephone. 

The lighting flickered sharply, was replaced at 
once by a lesser illumination. The emergency 
lighting had cut in. No one needed to be told that 
Power Central was out. Mordan continued to the 
phone — it was dead. 

“The building cannot be held by two guns,” he 
observed, as if thinking aloud. “Nor is it neces- 
sary. There is just one point necessary to protect 

the plasm bank. Our friends are not completely 
stupid, but it is still bad strategy. They forget 
that a trapped animal will gnaw off a leg. Come, 
Felix. We must attempt it.” 

The significance of the attack on the clinic raced 
through Hamilton’s mind. The plasm bank. The 
one here in the Capital’s clinic was repository of 
the plasm of genius for the past two centuries. If 
the rebels captured it, even if they did not win, 
they would have a unique and irreplaceable hos- 
tage. At the worst they could exchange it for 
their lives.” 

"What do you mean, ‘two guns’?” demanded 
Longcourt Phyllis. “What about this?” She 
slapped her belt. 

“I daren’t risk you,” Mordan answered. “You 
know why." 

Their eyes locked for a moment. She answered 
with two words. “Fleming Marjorie." 

“Hm-m-m. I see your point. Very well.” 
"What’s she doing here, anyhow?” demanded 
Hamilton. “And who is Fleming Marjorie?” 
"Phyllis came here to talk with me — about you. 
Fleming Marjorie is another fifth cousin of yours. 
Quite a good chart. Come!” He started away 

Hamilton hurried after him, thinking furiously. 
The significance of Mordan's last remarks broke 
on him with a slightly delayed action. When he 
understood he was considerably annoyed, but there 
was no time to talk about it. He avoided looking 
at Phyllis. 

Bainbridge Martha joined them as they were 
leaving the room. “One of the girls Is passing the 
word,” she informed Mordan. 

"Good," he answered without pausing. 

The plasm bank stood by itself in the middle of 
a large room, a room three stories high and broad 
in proportion. The bank itself was arranged in 
librarylike tiers. A platform divided it halfway 
up, from which technicians could reach the cells in 
the upper level. 

Mordan went directly to the flight of stairs in 
the center of the mass and climbed to the platform. 
"Phyllis and I will cover the two front doors,” he 
directed. “Felix, you will cover the rear door.” 
"What about me?” asked his chief of staff. 

"You, Martha? You’re not a gunman.” 

“There’s another gun,” she declared, pointing at 
Hamilton’s belt. Hamilton glanced down, puzzled. 
She was right. He had stuffed the gun he had 
taken from Monroe-Alpha under his belt. He 
handed it to her. 

“Do you know how to use it?” asked Mordan. 

“It will burn where I point it, won’t it?” 


“That’s all I want to know.” 

"Very well. Phyllis, you and Martha cover the 
back door. Felix and I will take a front door 



The balcony platform was surrounded by a rail- 
ing, waist high and not quite one solid piece, for it 
was pierced here and there with small openings — 
part of an ornamental design. The plan was quite 
simple — crouch behind the railing, spy out the 
doors through the openings and use them as loop- 
holes through which to fire. 

They waited. 

Hamilton got out a cigarette with one hand, 
stuck it in his mouth and inhaled it into burning, 
without taking his eyes off the left-hand door. He 
offered the case to Mordan, who pushed it away. 
“Claude, there’s one thing I can’t figure out — ” 

“Why in the world the government didn't bust 
this up before it had gone so far. I gather that I 
wasn't the only stoolie in the set-up. Why didn’t 
you smear it?” 

“I am not the government,” Mordan answered 
carefully, “nor am I on the Policy Board. I might 
venture an opinion.” 

“Let’s have it." 

“The only certain way to get all the conspirators 
was to wait until they showed themselves. Nor 
will it be necessary to try them — an unsatisfactory 
process at best. This way they will be extermi- 
nated to the last man." 

Hamilton thought about it. “It does not seem to 
me that the policy makers are justified in risking 
the whole State by delaying.” 

“Policy makers take a long view of things. Bio- 
logically it is better to make sure that the purge 
is clean. But the issue was never in doubt, Felix." 

“How can you be sure? We're in a sweet spot 
now, as a result of waiting.” 

“You and I are in jeopardy, to be sure. But the 
society will live. It will take a little time for the 
monitors to recruit enough militia to subdue them 
in any key points they may have seized, but the 
outcome is certain." 

“Damnation!” complained Hamilton. “It 
shouldn't be necessary to wait to stir up volunteers 
among the citizens. The police force should be 
large enough.” 

“No,” said Mordan. “No, I don’t think so. The 
police of a State should never be stronger or bet- 
ter armed than the citizenry. An armed citizenry, 
willing to fight, is the foundation of civil freedom. 
That’s a personal evaluation, of course.” 

“But suppose they don’t? Suppose these rats 
win? It’s the Policy Board’s fault.” 

Mordan shrugged. “If the rebellion is success- 
ful, notwithstanding an armed citizenry, then it 
has justified itself — biologically. By the way, be 
a little slow in shooting, if the first man comes 
through your door.” 


“Your weapon is noisy. If he is alone, we’ll gain 
a short delay.” 

They waited. Hamilton was beginning to think 
that his timepiece had stopped, until he realized 
that his first cigarette was still burning. He 
glanced quickly back at his door, and said, "Pssst!" 
to Mordan, and shifted his watching to the other 

The man entered cautiously, weapon high. Mor- 
dan led him with his gunsight until he was well 
inside and had stepped out of direct line of sight 
of the door. Then he let him have it, neatly, in the 
head. Mordan glanced at him, and noticed that it 
was a man he had had a drink with earlier in the 

The next two came in a pair. Mordan motioned 
for him not to shoot. He was not able to wait so 
long this time; they saw the body as soon as they 
were in the doorway. Hamilton noted with ad- 
miration that he was unable to tell which one had 
been shot first. They seemed to drop simultane- 

"You need not honor my fire next time,” Mordan 
remarked. “The element of surprise will be lack- 
ing.” Over his shoulder he called, “First blood, 
ladies. Anything doing there?" 

"Not yet.” 

"Here they come !” Ba-bang! Bang! Hamilton 
had fired three times, winged three men. One of 
them stirred, attempted to raise himself and return 
the fire. He let him have one more bullet, which 
quieted him. “Thank you," said Mordan. 

“For what?" 

“That wasrny file secretary. But I would rather 
have killed him myself.” 

Hamilton cocked an eyebrow at him. “I think 
you once told me that a public official should try 
to keep his personal feelings out of his work?" 

“That’s true — but there is no rule saying I can't 
enjoy my work. I wish he had come in my door. 
I liked him." 

Hamilton noted that Mordan had accounted for 
four more, silently, while Hamilton was so noisily 
stopping the rush at his own door. That made five 
at his door, one in between, and four at Mordan’s. 
“If they keep this up, they’ll have a barricade of 
living flesh,” he commented. 

“Formerly living,” Mordan corrected. “Haven't 
you been at that same loophole a bit too long?” 

“I stand corrected on both counts.” He shifted 
to another spot, then called back, “How is it com- 
ing, girls?" 

“Martha got one,” Phyllis sang out. 

"Good for her! What’s the matter with you?” 

“I’m doing all right." 

“Fine. Burn ’em so they don't wiggle.” 

“They don’t,” she stated briefly. 

There were no more rushes, A portion of a head 
would peek out cautiously, its owner would blast 
once quickly without proper aim, the man would 


duck back. They returned the fire, but with lit- 
tle expectation of hitting anything. The targets 
never appeared twice in the same spot, and for 
split seconds only. They crept back and forth 
along the balcony, trying to enfilade the rooms be- 
yond, but their antagonists had become cagy. 

“Claude — I just thought of something funny.” 

“Suppose I get killed in this. You get your own 
way in our argument, don’t you?" 

"Yes. What’s the joke?” 

“But if I get knocked over, you’ll probably be 
dead, too. You told me my deposit was listed only 
in your mind. You win and you lose." 

"Not exactly. I said it was not on file. But it's 
identified in my will — my professional executor 
will carry out the plan." 

“Oho. So I’m a papa anyhow." He fired once 
at a shape that suddenly appeared in his door. 
There was a yelp of anguish, and the shape drew 
back. “Lousy," he deplored. “I must be losing my 
eyesight." He banked a slug off the floor in front 
of his door, letting it thereby ricochet loosely in 
the room beyond. He did the same through Mor- 
dan’s door. “That’s to teach ’em to keep their 
heads down. Look, Claude — if you had your 
choice, which would you prefer: For both of us 
to be knocked over and thereby insure your own 
way about my hypothetical offspring, or for both 
of us to get through it and be back where we 

Mordan considered the question. "I think I 
would rather try to argue you around to my view- 
point. I'm afraid there isn’t much of the martyr 
spirit in me." 

"That’s what I thought." 

Somewhat later Mordan said, “Felix, I think 
they have taken to drawing our fire. I don't think 
that was a face I shot at last time.” 

"I believe you’re right. I couldn’t have missed 
a couple of times lately." 

"How many shots have you left?” 

Hamilton did not need to count; he knew — and 
it had been worrying him. He had four clips when 
he left for the Hall of the Wolf — three in his belt, 
one in his gun, twenty-eight shots in all. The fast 
clip was in his gun; he had fired two shots from it. 
He held up one hand, fingers spread. "How about 

“About the same. I could use half charge for 
this sparring." He thought a moment. "Cover 
both doors.” He crawled rapidly away through the 
stacks to where the two women kept guard on the 
rear door. 

Martha heard him and turned. “Look at this, 
chief,” she insisted, holding out her left hand. He 
looked — the first two joints of the forefinger were 
burned away and the tip of the thumb — cleanly 
cauterized. “Isn’t that a mess?" she complained. 


“I’ll never be able to operate again. No manipu- 

"Your assistants can operate. It’s your brain 
that counts.” 

“A lot you know about it. They're clumsy — 
every blessed one of them. It's a miracle they can 
dress themselves.” 

“I'm sorry. How many charges have you left F’’ 

The picture was no better here. Phyllis’ lady’s 
weapon had been only a twenty-gun to start with. 
Both Mordan's and Monroe-Alpha’s were fifty- 
guns, but the gun expropriated from Monroe- 
Alpha had started the evening even more depleted 
than Mordan’s. Phyllis had withdrawn Martha 
from anything more than stand-by when she had 
been wounded, planning to use the gun herself 
when her own was exhausted. 

Mordan cautioned them to be still more economi- 
cal with their shooting and returned to his post. 
“Anything happened?” he asked. 

"No. What’s the situation?" 

Mordan told him. 

Hamilton whistled tunelessly, his eye on his tar- 
get. “Claude?" 

“Yes, Felix." 

“Do you think we are going to get out of this?" 

“No, Felix." 

“Hm-m-m. Well, it's been a nice party." A 
little later he added, “Damn it— I don’t want to 
die. Not just yet.” 

“Claude, I've thought of another joke.” 

“Let’s have it.” 

"What's the one thing that could give life point 
to it — real point?” 

"That," Mordan pointed out, “is the question 
I've been trying to answer for you all along.” 

"No, no. The question itself." 

“You state it,” Mordan parried cautiously. 

"I will. The one thing that could give us some 
real basis for our living is to know for sure 
whether or not anything happens after we die. 
When we die, do we die all over — or don’t we?" 

“Hm-m-m — granting your point, what's the 

“The joke is on me. Or rather on my kid. In 
a few minutes I’ll probably know the answer. But 
he won’t. He’s sitting back there right now — in 
a way — sleeping in one of those freezers. And 
there is no way on earth for me to let him know 
the answer. But he’s the one that will need to 
know. Isn't that funny?” , 

“Hm-m-m. If that’s your idea of a joke, Felix, 
I suggest that you stick to parlor tricks.” 

Hamilton shrugged jauntily. “I’m considered 
quite a wit in some circles,” he bragged. “Some- 
times I wow myself.” 

“Here they come!” It was an organized rush 
this time, spreading fanwise from both doors. 



They were both very busy for perhaps two sec- 
onds, then it was over. “Any get through?” 

“Two, I think,” Mordan answered. “You cover 
the stairs. I’ll stay here.” It was not personal 
caution, but tactics. Mordan’s eye and hand were 
fast, but Hamilton was the younger, abler man. 

He watched the stairs on his belly, most of his 
body shielded by the stacks. He was lucky on the 
first shot — his man stuck his head up facing the 
other way. Hamilton sent him down with a hole 
in the back of his skull and his forehead blown 
away. He then shifted quickly to the far side of 
the stair well. But his gun was empty. 

The second man came up fast. Hamilton slugged 
him with the empty weapon and grappled, trying 
to get inside his range. The man almost fought 
free, dragging them both part way into the stair- 
case, but Hamilton jerked back on his head. hard. 
There was a crunch of bone; he went limp. 

Hamilton reported back to Mordan. 

“Good. Where’s your gun?” Hamilton shrugged 
and spread his palms. “There ought to be a couple 
o’ guns at the foot of the stairs,” he suggested. 

“You wouldn’t last long enough to stoop over 
for them. You stay up here. Go back and get 

“Yes, sir." 

He crawled back, explained what he wanted, and 
told Martha to hide in the stacks. She protested. 
"Chief's orders," he lied. Then to Phyllis, “How 
are you doing, kid?" 

“All right." 

“Keep your chin up and your head down." He 
glanced at the meters on both guns. They had the 
same charge. He holstered Monroe-Alpha’s gun, 
shot a quick look at the door Phyllis was covering, 
then grabbed her chin, turned her face around, and 
kissed her quickly. 

“That’s for keeps,” he said, and turned away at 

Mordan reported no activity. "But there will 
be," he added. “We don’t dare waste shots on 
casual targets and they will soon realize it.” 

It seemed an interminable wait. They grimly 
forbore accepting the targets they were offered. 
“I think," said Mordan at last, “that we had better 
expend one charge on the next thing that appears. 
It might cause a worth-while delay." 

“You don’t have any silly notion that we are go- 
ing to get out of this now, do you? I’ve begun to 
suspect that the monitors don’t even know this 
point was attacked." 

“You may be right. But we’ll keep on.” 

“Oh, of course." 

They had a target soon — plain enough to be sure 
that it was a man, and not a decoy. Mordan stung 
him. He fell in sight, but shots were scarce — he 
was allowed to crawl painfully back out of range. 

Hamilton looked up for a moment. “See here, 
Claude — it would be worth-while, you know — to 

know what happens after the lights go out. Why 
hasn’t anyone tackled it seriously?" 

“Religions do. Philosophies do.” 

“That isn’t what I mean. It ought to be tackled 
the same as any other — ” He stopped. “Do you 
smell anything?" 

Mordan sniffed. “I'm not sure. What does it 
smell like?" 

“Sweetish. It — ” He felt suddenly dizzy, a 
strange sensation for him. He saw two of Mor- 
dan. “Gas. They've got us. So long, pal.” He 
tried to crawl to the passageway down which 
Phyllis was on duty, but he achieved only a couple 
of clumsy, crawling steps, fell on his face, and lay 


It was pleasant to be dead. Pleasant and peace- 
ful, not monotonous. But a little bit lonely. He 
missed those others — serene Mordan, the dauntless 
gallantry of Phyllis, Cliff and his frozen face. 
And there was that funny little man, pathetic little 
man who ran the Milky Way Bar — what had he 
named him? He could see his face, but what had 
he named him? Herbie, Herbert, something like 
that — names didn’t taste the same when words 
were gone. Why had he named him Herbert? 

Never mind. Next time he would not choose to 
be a mathematician. Dull, tasteless stuff, mathe- 
matics — quite likely to give the game away before 
it was played out. No fun in the game if you knew 
the outcome. He had designed a game like that 
once, and called it “Futility" — no matter how you 
played, you had to win. No, that wasn’t himself, 
that was a player called Hamilton. Himself wasn’t 
Hamilton — not this game. He was a geneticist — 
that was a good one! — a game within a game. 
Change the rules as you go along. Move the 
players around. Play tricks on yourself; 

"Don’t you peek and close your eyes, 

And I’ll give you something to make a s’prise!" 

That was the essence of the game — surprise. 
You locked up your memory, and promised not to 
look, then played through the part you had picked 
with just the rules assigned to that player. Some- 
times the surprises were pretty ghastly though — 
he didn’t like having his fingers burned off. 

No! He hadn't played that position at all. That 
piece was an automatic, some of the pieces had to 
be. Himself had burned off that piece's fingers, 
though it seemed real at the time. 

It was always like this on first waking up. It 
was always a little hard to remember which posi- 
tion himself had played, forgetting that he had 
played all of the parts. Well, that was the game; 
it was the only game in town, and there was noth- 
ing else to do. Could he help it if the game was 
crooked? Even if he had made it up and played 
all the parts. 


But he would think up another game next time. 
Next time — 

His eyes didn’t work right. They were open 
but he couldn’t see anything. A hell of a way to 
run things — some mistake. 

“Hey! What’s going on here?” 

It was his own voice. He sat up, the cloth fell 
from his eyes. Everything was too bright; his 
eyes smarted. 

"What’s the trouble, Felix?” He turned in the 
direction of the voice and strove to focus his ach- 
ing eyes. It was Mordan, lying a few feet away. 
There was something he wanted to ask Mordan, 
but it escaped him. 

“Oh. Claude. I don’t feel right. How long 
have we been dead?” 

“We aren’t dead. You’re just a bit sick. You’ll 
get over it-” 

“Sick? Is that what it is?” 

“Yes. I was sick once, about thirty years ago. 
It was much like this.” 

“Oh — ” There was still something he wanted to 
ask Mordan, but he couldn't for the life of him re- 
call what it was. It was important, too, and Claude 
would know. Claude knew everything — he made 
the rules. 

That was silly! Still, Claude would know. 

“Do you want to know what happened?” Mor- 
dan asked. 

Maybe that was it. “They gassed us. didn't 
they? I don’t remember anything after that.” 
That wasn’t quite right — there was something 
else. He wouldn’t recall. 

“We were gassed, but it was done by our own 
monitors. Through the conditioning system. We 
were lucky. No one knew we were under siege 
inside, but they could not be sure that all of the 
staff were out of the building — else they would 
have used a lethal gas.” 

His head was clearing now. He remembered the 
fight in detail. “So? How many were left? How 
many did we fail to get?” 

“I don’t know exactly, and it’s probably too late 
to find out. They are probably all dead.” 

“Dead? Why? They didn’t burn them after 
they were down, did they?” 

“No. But this gas we took is lethal without an 
immediate antidote — and I'm afraid that the thera- 
pists were a little bit overworked. Our own people 
came first.” 

Hamilton grinned. “You old hypocrite. Sayf 
How about Phyllis?" 

“She's all right, and so is Martha. I ascertained 
that when I woke up. By the way, do you know 
that you snore?” 

“Do I, really?" 

"Outrageously. I listened to your music for 
more than an hour. You must have had a heavier 

dose of gas than I had. Perhaps you struggled." 

“Maybe. I wouldn’t know. Say, where are we?” 
He swung his legs out of bed, and attempted to 
stand. It was a foolish attempt; he just missed 
falling on his face. 

“Lie down," ordered Mordan. “You won't be fit 
for several hours yet." 

“I guess you’re right,” Hamilton admitted, sink- 
ing back on the cushion. “Say, that's a funny feel- 
ing. I thought I was going to fly." 

“We’re next door to the Carstairs Infirmary, in 
a temporary annex,” Mordan continued. “Natu- 
rally, things are a bit crowded today.” 

"Is the party all over? Did we win?" 

“Of course we won. I told you the issue waB 
never in doubt.” 

“I know you did, but I've never understood your 

Mordan considered how to reply to this. “Per- 
haps,” he said, “it would be simplest to state that 
they never did have what it takes. The leaders 


were, in most cases, genetically poor types, with 
conceit far exceeding their abilities. I doubt if 
any one of them had sufficient imagination to 
conceive logically the complexities of running a 
society, even the cut-to-measure society they 
dreamed of.” 

"They talked as if they did." 

Mordan nodded. "No doubt. It’s a common fal- 
lacy and it has been with the race as long as the 
race has had social organization. A little business- 
man thinks his tiny business is as complex and dif- 
ficult as the whole government. By inversion, he 
conceives himself as competent to plan the govern- 
ment as the chief executive. Going further back 
in history, I’ve no doubt that many a peasant 
thought the job of the king was a simple one and 
that he could do it better if he only had the chance. 
What it boils down to is lack of imagination and 
overwhelming conceit.” 

“I would never have thought them lacking in im- 

“There is a difference between constructive im- 
agination and wild, uncontrolled daydreams. The 
latter is psychopathic — megalomania — unable to 
distinguish between fact and fancy. The other is 
hard-headed. In any case, the fact remains that 
they did not have a single competent scientist, nor 
a synthesist of any sort, in their whole organiza- 
tion. I venture to predict that, when we get 
around to reviewing their records, we will find that 
the rebels were almost all — all, perhaps — men who 
had never been outstandingly successful at any- 
thing. Theit-only prominence was among them- 

Hamilton thought this over to himself. He had 
noticed something of the sort. They had seemed 
like thwarted men. He had not recognized a face 
among them as being anyone in particular outside 
the Survivors Club. But inside the club they were 
swollen with self-importance, planning this, decid- 
ing that, talking about what they would do when 
they “took over." Pipsqueaks, the lot of ’em. 

But dangerous pipsqueaks, no matter what Mor- 
dan said. You were just as dead, burned by a 
childish man, as you would be if another killed 

"Felix, are you still awake?” 


"Do you recall the conversation we were having 
during the fight?" 

“Why, um . . . yes . . . yes, I think I do.” 

“You were about to say something when the gas 
hit us." 

Hamilton was slow in replying. He recalled 
what had been on his mind but it was difficult to 
fit it into adequate words. “It’s like this, Claude. 
It seems to me that scientists tackle every prob- 
lem but the important ones. What a man wants 

to know is ‘Why?’ — all that science tells him is 
‘What.’ ” 

“ ‘Why’ isn’t the business of science. Scientists 
observe, describe, hypothecate, and predict. ‘What’ 
and ‘How’ is their whole field; ‘Why’ doesn’t en- 
ter it." 

"Why shouldn’t ‘Why’ enter into it? I don’t 
want to know how far it is from here to the Sun; 
I want to know why the Sun is there — and why 
I am standing here looking at it. I ask what life 
is for, and they show me a way to make better 

"Food is important. Try going without it.” 

“Food isn’t important after you've solved that 

“Were you ever hungry?" 

"Once — when I was studying basic socio-eco- 
nomics. But it was just instructional. I never ex- 
pect to be hungry again — and neither does any- 
body else. That’s a solved problem and it answers 
nothing. I want to know ‘What next? Whereto? 
What for?’ ” 

“I had been thinking about these matters," Mor- 
dan said slowly, "while you were sleeping. The 
problems of philosophy seem to be unlimited, and 
it is not too healthy to dwell on unlimited ques- 
tions. But last night you seemed to feel that the 
key problem, for you, was the old, old question as 
to whether a man was anything more than his hun- 
dred years here on earth? Do you still feel that 

“Yes — I think I do. If there was anything, any- 
thing more at all, after this crazy mix-up we call 
living, I could feel that there might be some point 
to the whole frantic business, even if I did not 
know and could not know the full answer while 
I was alive.” 

“And suppose there was not? Suppose that 
when a man’s body disintegrates, he himself dis- 
appears absolutely. I’m bound to say I find it a 
probable hypothesis." 

"Well — It wouldn’t be cheerful knowledge, but 
it would be better than not knowing. You could 
plan your life rationally, at least. A man might 
even be able to get a certain amount of satisfaction 
in planning things better for the future, after he’s 
gone. A vicarious pleasure in the anticipation.” 

“I assure you he can,” Mordan stated, from his 
own inner knowledge. "But, I take it, either way, 
you would feel that the question you posed to me 
in our first interview was fairly answered.” 

“Mm-m-m, yes.” 

"Whereupon you would be willing to co-operate 
in the genetics program planned for you?” 

“Yes. if." 

“I don’t propose to give you an answer here and 
now," Mordan answered equably. "Would you be 
willing to co-operate if you knew that a serious 
attempt was being made to answer your question?” 

"Easy there! Wait a minute. You-win-and-I- 



lose. I ought to be entitled to look at the answer. 
Suppose you do assign someone to look into the 
matter and he comes back with a negative report 
— after I’ve fulfilled my part of the bargain?” 

“It would be necessary for you to place credence 
in me. Such a research might not be completed in 
years, or in our lifetimes. But suppose I declare 
to you that such a research were to be attempted, 
seriously, hard-headedly, all out, and no trouble 
spared, would you then consent to co-operate?” 
Hamilton covered his face with his hands. There 
were myriad factors revolving in his brain — of 
some of which he was not fully aware, none of 
which he wished to talk about. “If you did . . . 
if you did — I think perhaps — " 

“Here, here,” a voice boomed in the room. 
“What’s going on in here? Mustn’t excite your- 
selves yet.” 

"Hello, Joseph,” Mordan greeted the newcomer. 
“Morning, Claude. Feel better?” 


“You still need sleep. Put yourself to sleep.” 
"Very well." Mordan closed his eyes. 

The man called Joseph stepped up to Felix, felt 
his wrist, peeled back his eyelid, and examined the 
eye. “You’ll do.” 

“I want to get up." 

“Not yet. I want you to sleep for a few hours 
first. Look at me. You feel sleepy. You — ” 
Felix tore his gaze away from the man’s eyes 
and said, “Claude!” 

“He's asleep. You can’t possibly wake him.” 
“Oh. See here, you’re a therapist, aren't you?" 

“Is there anything that can be done to cure snor- 

The man chuckled. “All I can suggest is that 
you sleep through it. Which is what I want you 
to do now. You are sleepy. You are falling 
asleep. Sleep — ” 

When they let him go he tried to look up Phyllis. 
It was difficult to find her, to begin with, since the 
meager hospital accommodations of the city were 
overcrowded and she had been ministered to, as 
he had been, in temporary quarters. When he did 
find her, they wouldn’t let him in — she was sleep- 
ing, they said. Nor were they inclined to give him 
any information as to her condition; he could show 
no claim on such knowledge and it was clearly in 
the private sphere. 

He made such a nuisance of himself that he was 
finally told that she was entirely well, save for a 
slight indisposition pursuant to gas poisoning. He 
had to be contented with that. 

He might have gotten himself into serious trou- 
ble had he been dealing with a man, but his argu- 
ment was with a grimly inflexible matron, who was 
about twice as tough as he was. 

He had the faculty of dismissing from mind that 

which could not be helped. Phyllis was not on his 
mind once he had turned away. He started for his 
apartment automatically, then recalled, for the first 
time in a good many hours, Monroe-Alpha. 

The fool, the silly fool ! He wondered what had 
happened to him. He was reluctant to inquire 
since to do so might give away Monroe-Alpha’s 
connection with the conspiracy — although it 
seemed likely that he had already found some 
means to do that himself. 

It did not occur to him then, or at any other 
time, to “do the honorable thing” by reporting 
Monroe-Alpha. His morals were strictly prag- 
matic, and conformed to accepted code as closely 
as they did only through a shrewd and imaginative 

He called Monroe-Alpha's office — no, he was not 
there. He called his apartment. No answer. Tem- 
porarily blocked, he decided to go to his friend’s 
apartment on the assumption that he might show 
up there first. 

He got no response at the door. He knew the 
combination but ordinarily would not think of 
using it. This seemed to him an extraordinary oc- 

Monroe-Alpha was sitting in his lounging room. 
He looked up when Hamilton entered, but did not 
rise and said nothing. Hamilton walked over and 
planted himself in front of him. “So you’re back?” 


“How long have you been back?" 

“I don’t know. Hours." 

“You have? I signaled your phone.” 

“Oh, was that you?” 

“Certainly it was. Why didn’t you answer?” 

Monroe-Alpha said nothing, looked at him dully, 
and looked away. “Snap out of it, man,” Hamilton 
commanded, by now exasperated. "Come to life. 
The putsch failed. You know that, don't you?” 

"Yes.” Then he added, “I'm ready.” 

“Ready for what?” 

"You’ve come to arrest me, haven’t you?” 

“Me? Great Egg! I’m no monitor." 

"It’s all right. I don’t mind." 

"Look here, Cliff," Hamilton said seriously. 
“What’s gotten into you? Are you still filled up 
with the guff McFee dished out? Are you deter- 
mined to be a martyr? You'ye been a fool — there’s 
no need to be a damned fool. I’ve reported that 
you were an agent of mine." (In this he antici- 
pated a decision he had made at the moment; he 
would carry it out later — if necessary.) “You’re 
all in the clear. 

“Well, speak u p. Y ou didn't get in on the fight- 
ing, did you?" 


“I didn’t think you would, after the hypno pills 
I stuffed down you. One more and you would have 
listened to the birdies. What’s the trouble, then? 



Are you still fanatical about this damned Sur- 
vivors Club tommyrot?” 

“No. That was a mistake. I was crazy.” 

“I’ll say you were crazy! But see here — you 
don’t rate it, but you’re getting away with it, cold. 
You don’t have to worry. Just slide back in where 
you were and no one’s the wiser.” 

“It’s no good, Felix. Nothing’s any good. 
Thanks, just the same,” he 6miled briefly and 

“Well, for the love o’ — I’ve a good mind to 
paste you right in the puss, just to get a rise out 
of you." Monroe-Alpha did not answer. His face 
he had let sink down into his hands; he showed 
in no way that he had even heard. Hamilton shook 
his shoulder. 

“What's the matter? Did something else hap- 
pen? Something I don’t know about?” 

“Yes.” It was barely a whisper. 

“Do you want to tell me about it?” 

“It doesn’t matter." But he did start to tell of 
it; once started he went on steadily, in a low voice 
and without raising his head. He seemed to be 
talking only to himself, as if he were repeating 
over something he wished to learn by heart. 

Hamilton listened uneasily, wondering whether 
or not he should stop him. He had never heard 
a man bare his secret thoughts as Monroe-Alpha 
was doing. It seemed indecent. 

But he went on and on, until the whole pitiful, 
silly picture was mercilessly sharp. “And so I 
came back here,” he concluded at last. He said 
nothing further, nor did he look up. 

Hamilton looked amazed. “Is that all?” 


“You’re sure you haven’t left out anything?" 
“No, of course not.” 

“Then what, in the Name of the Egg, are you 
doing here?” 

“Nothing. There wasn’t any place else to go." 
"Cliff, you’ll be the death of me, yet. Get going. 
Get started. Get up off that fat thing you're sit- 
ting on and get a move on.” 

“Huh? Where?" 

“After her, you bubble-brained idiot! Go find 

Monroe-Alpha shook his head wearily. "You 
must not have listened. I tell you I tried to burn 

Hamilton took a deep breath, let it out, then said, 
“Listen to me. I don’t know much about women, 
and sometimes it seems like I didn’t know any- 
thing about them. But I’m sure of this — she won’t 
let a little thing like you taking a pot shot at her 
stand in the way if you ever had any chance with 
her at all. She’ll forgive you.” 

“You don’t really mean that, do you?" Monroe- 
Alpha’s face was still tragic, but he clutched at the 

“Certainly I do. Women will forgive anything.” 

With a flash of insight he added, "Otherwise the 
race would have died out long ago.” 


“I cannot say,” remarked the Honorable Member 
from Great Lakes Central, “that I place high evalu- 
ation on Brother Mordan’s argument that this 
project should be taken up to get young Hamil- 
ton's consent to propagate. It is true that I am 
not entirely familiar with the details of the genetic 
sequence involved — ” 

“You should be,” Mordan cut in somewhat 
acidly. “I supplied full transcript two days ago.” 

“I beg your pardon, brother. In those forty- 
eight hours I have held hearings steadily. The 
Mississippi Valley matter, you know. It’s rather 

“I’m sorry,” Mordan apologized. “It’s easy for 
a layman to forget the demands on a Planner’s 

“Never mind. No need for finicky courtesy 
among ourselves. I scanned the brief and the first 
sixty pages while we were assembling; that, with 
such previous knowledge of the case as I had, gives 
me a rough idea of your problem. But tell me, am 
I correct in thinking that Hamilton holds nothing 
exclusively in his chart? You have alternative 


“You expected to finish with his descendant gen- 
eration . . . how many generations would be re- 
quired, using alternative choices?” 

“Three additional generations.” 

“That is what I thought, and that is my reason 
for disagreeing with your argument. The genetic 
purpose of the sequence is, I think, of great im- 
portance to the race, but a delay of a hundred 
years, more or less, is not important — not suffi- 
ciently important to justify an undertaking as 
major as a full effort to investigate the question 
of survival after death.” 

“I take it,” put in the Speaker for the Day, “that 
you wish to be recorded as opposing Brother Mor- 
dan’s proposal?” 

“No, Hubert, no. You anticipate me — incor- 
rectly. I am supporting his proposition. Notwith- 
standing the fact that I consider his reasons, 
though good, to be insufficient, I evaluate the pro- 
posal as worth while in itself. I think we should 
support it fully.” 

The member from the Antilles looked up from 
the book he was reading — not rudeness; every- 
one present knew that he had parallel mental proc- 
esses and no one expected him to waste half the 
use of his time out of politeness — and said, “I 
think George should amplify his reason.” 

“I will. We policy men are like a pilot who is 
attempting to do a careful job of conning his ship 
without having any idea of his destination. Ham- 



ilton has put his finger on the weak point in our 
whole culture — he should be a Planner himself! 
Every decision that we make, although it is based 
on data, is shaped by our personal philosophies. 
The data is examined in the light of those philos- 
ophies. How many of you have an opinion about 
survival-after-death? I ask for a show of hands. 
Come now, be honest with yourselves.” 

Somewhat hesitantly they put their hands up — 
men and women alike, every one of them. “Now," 
the Great Lakes member continued, “the hands of 
those who are sure that their opinions are cor- 

All of the hands went down, save that of the 
member from Patagonia. “Bravo!” Rembert of the 
Lakes called out. “I should have guessed that you 
would be sure.” 

She took the cigar out of her mouth, said rather 
sharply, “Any fool knows that one," and went back 
to her needlework. She was something over a hun- 
dred years old, and the only control natural on the 
Board. Her district had confirmed her tenure 
regularly for more than fifty years. Her eyesight 
was thought to be failing, but she had all of her 
own yellow teeth. Her wrinkled, mahogany fea- 
tures showed more evidence of Indian blood than 
Caucasian. They all claimed to be a little afraid 
of her. 

“Carvala," Rembert said to her, “perhaps you can 
cut the matter short by giving us the answer.” 

“I can’t tell you the answer — and you wouldn't 
believe me if I did." She was silent for a moment, 
then added, “Let the boy do as he pleases. He will 

“Do you support or oppose Mordan’s proposi- 

“Support. Not that you’re likely to go at it 

There was a short silence. Every member in the 
chamber was busily reviewing to himself — trying 
to recall when, if ever, Carvala had been proven to 
be on the wrong side of a question — in the long 

“It would seem obvious," Rembert continued, “to 
me. that the only rational personal philosophy 
based on a conviction that we die dead, never to 
rise again, is a philosophy of complete hedonism. 
Such a hedonist might seek his pleasure in life in 
very subtle, indirect, and sublimated fashions; 
nevertheless pleasure must be his only rational 
purpose — no matter how lofty his conduct may ap- 
pear to be from the outside. On the other hand, 
the possibility of something more to life than the 
short span we see opens up an unlimited possibility 
of evaluations other than hedonistic. It seems to 
me a fit subject to investigate." 

“Granting your point,” commented the woman 
representing the Northwest Union, “is it our busi- 
ness to do so? Our functions and our authority 

are limited ; we are forbidden by constitution from 
meddling with spiritual matters. How about it, 

The member addressed was the only priest per- 
sona among them, he being the Most Reverend 
Mediator to some millions of his coreligionists 
south of the Rio Grande. His political prominence 
was the more exceptional in that the great ma- 
jority of his constituents were not of his faith. “I 
do not see, Geraldine," he replied, “that the con- 
stitutional restriction applies. What Brother Mor- 
dan proposes is a coldly scientific investigation. 
Its consequences may have spiritual implications, 
if there are positive results, but an unbiased inves- 
tigation is no violation of religious freedom." 

“Johann is right,” said Rembert. “There is no 
subject inappropriate for scientific research. Jo- 
hann, we’ve let you fellows have a monopoly of 
such matters for too long. The most serious ques- 
tions in the world have been left to faith or specu- 
lation. It is time for scientists to cope with them, 
or admit that science is no more than pebble count- 

"Go ahead. I shall be interested in seeing what 
you can make of them — in laboratories.” 

Hoskins Geraldine looked at him. “I wonder, 
Johann, what your attitude will be if this research 
should turn up facts which contravert some one of 
your articles of faith?" 

"That," he answered imperturbably, “is a matter 
for me to settle with myself. It need not affect 
this Board.” 

“I think," observed the Speaker for the Day, 
"that we might now seek a preliminary expression 
of opinion. Some support the proposal — are any 
opposed?” There was no response. “Are any un- 
decided?" There was still no response, but one 
member stirred slightly. “You wished to speak, 

“Not yet. I support the proposal, but I will 
speak to it later." 

“Very well. It appears to be unanimous. It is 
so ordered. I will co-opt an instigator later. Now, 

The member-at-large for transient citizens indi- 
cated that he was ready. "The research does not 
cover enough territory.” 


“When it was proposed as a means of persuading 
Hamilton Felix to accede to the wishes of the State 
geneticists it was sufficient. But we are now un- 
dertaking it for itself. Is that not true?" 

The Speaker glanced around the room, picking 
up nods from all but ancient Carvala — she seemed 
uninterested in the whole matter. “Yes, that is 

“Then we should undertake not just one of the 
problems of philosophy, but all of them. The same 
reasons apply.” 



“Mm-m-m. We are under no necessity of being 
consistent, you know." 

“Yes, I know, and I am not trammeled by the 
meshes of verbal logic. I am interested. I am 
stimulated by the vista. I want us to extend the 

“Very well. I am interested, too. I think we 
might well spend the next several days discussing 
it. I will postpone co-opting the instigator until 
we determine just how far we will go." 

Mordan had been intending to ask to be excused, 
his mission accomplished, but, at this new twist, 
fire and earthquake, garnished with pretty girls, 
could not have tempted him to leave. As a citizen, 
he was entitled to listen if he chose: as a distin- 
guished synthesist himself, no one would think of 
objecting to his physical presence in the circle of 
discussion. He stayed. 

The member for transients went on, “We should 
enumerate and investigate all of the problems of 
philosophy, especially the problems of metaphys- 
ics and epistemology." 

“I had thought,” the Speaker said mildly, “that 
epistemology had been pretty well settled.” 

“Certainly, certainly — in the limited sense of 
agreeing on the semantic nature of symbolic com- 
munication. Speech and other communication 
symbols necessarily refer back to agreed-upon, 
pointed-to referent physical facts, no matter how 
high the level of abstraction, for communication to 
take place. Beyond that we cannot communicate. 
That’s why Brother Johann and I can’t argue 
about religion. He carries his around inside him 
and can’t point to what he means — as I carry mine. 
We can’t even be sure that we disagree. Our no- 
tions about religion may be identical, but we can’t 
talk about it meaningfully — so we keep quiet." 

Johann smiled with untroubled good nature, but 
said nothing. Carvala looked up from her fancy- 
work and said sharply, "Is this a development 
center lecture?” 

“Sorry, Carvala. We agree on the method of 
symbol communication — the symbol is not the re- 
ferent, the map is not the territory, the speech- 
sound is not the physical process. We go further 
and admit that the symbol never abstracts all of 
the details of the process it refers to. And we con- 
cede that symbols can be used to manipulate sym- 
bols — dangerously but usefully. And we agree 
that symbols should be structurally as similar as 
possible to the referents for communication pur- 
poses. To that extent epistemology is settled; but 
the key problem of epistemology — how we know 
what we know and what that knowledge means — 
we have settled by agreeing to ignore — like Johann 
and myself in re theology.” 

“Do you seriously propose that we investigate 

"I do. It’s a key problem in the general problem 
of the personality. There is a strong interconnec- 

tion between it and the object of Mordan’s pro- 
posal. Consider — if a man ‘lives’ after his body is 
dead or before that body was conceived, then a man 
is something more than his genes and his subse- 
quent environment. The doctrine of no-personal- 
responsibility for personal acts has become popu- 
lar through the contrary assumption. I won't go 
into the implications — they must be evident to all 
of you — in ethics, in politics, in every field. But 
note the parallel between map-territory and gene- 
chart-and-man. These basic problems are all inter- 
related and the solution to any of them might be 
the key to all the others.” 

“You did not mention the possibility of direct 
communication without symbols.” 

“I implied it. That is one of the things we 
agreed to forget when we accepted the semantic 
negative-statements as the final word on epistemol- 
ogy. But it ought to be looked into again. There 
is something to telepathy, even if we can’t measure 
it and manipulate it. Any man who has ever been 
happily married knows that, even if he’s afraid to 
talk about it. Infants and animals and primitives 
have some use of it. Maybe we’ve been too smart. 
But the question ought to be reopened.” 

“Speaking of philosophical questions in gen- 
eral,” put in the member from New Bolivar, “we 
have already agreed to subsidize one. Dr. Thorg- 
sen’s project — the ballistic stellarium — eidour- 
naian, I should call it. The origin and destination 
of the universe is certainly a classic problem of 

“You are right," confirmed the Speaker. “If we 
follow Richard’s proposal, Dr. Thorgscn's project 
should be included under it.” 

“I suggest that we did not allot Dr. Thorgsen 
sufficient credit.” 

“The subsidy could be increased, but he has not 
spent much of it. He seems to have little talent 
for spending money.” 

"Perhaps he needs abler assistants. There is 
Hargrave Caleb, and, of course, Monroe-Alpha 
Clifford. Monroe-Alpha is wasted in the depart- 
ment of finance." 

“Thorgsen knows Monroe-Alpha. Perhaps Mon- 
roe-Alpha doesn't want to work on it.” 

“Nonsense! Any man likes a job that stretches 
his muscles.” 

“Then perhaps Thorgsen hesitated to ask him to 
help. Thorgsen is an essentially modest man, and 
so is Monroe-Alpha.” 

“That seems more likely.” 

“In any case,” the Speaker finished, “such details 
are for the instigator to consider, not the whole 
Board. Are you ready for opinion? The question 
is Brother Richard’s proposal in the broadest 
sense — I suggest that we postpone elaboration of 
the details of projects and methods until tomorrow 



and other morrows In the meantime — does any 
member oppose?" 

There was no opposition; there was full consent. 

“So be it,” said the Speaker. He smiled. “It 
seems we are about to attempt to walk where So- 
crates stumbled. It will take some doing!" 

“Crawl, not ‘walk,’” Johann corrected. “We 
have limited ourselves to the experimental meth- 
ods of science." 

“True, true. Well, ‘he who crawls cannot stum- 
ble.' Now to other matters — we still have a State 
to govern!” 


"How would you like," Felix asked Phyllis, “to 
have a half-interest in a gladiator?" 

“What in the world are you talking about?” 

“This undertaking of Smith Darlington's — feet- 
ball. We are going to incorporate each employee’s 
contract and sell it. Our agent thinks it will be 
a good investment and. truthfully, I think he’s 

“Feetball," repeated Phyllis meditatively. "You 
did say something about it, but I never under- 
stood it." 

“It’s a silly business, at best. Twenty-two men 
get out on a large open place and battle with their 
bare hands.” 


“The excuse is to move a little plastic spheroid 
from one end of the place to the other." 

“What difference does it make which end it’s 

“None, really — but it's as reasonable as any other 

“I don't get it," Phyllis decided. "Why should 
anyone fight unless he wants to kill someone?" 

“You have to see it to understand it. It’s excit- 
ing. I even found myself shouting." 


“Uh-huh. Me. Old calm-as-a-cat Felix. It's go- 
ing to take hold, I tell you. It's going to be popu- 
lar. We'll sell permissions to view it physically 
and then all sorts of lesser rightB — direct pickup, 
and recording, and so forth. Smith has a lot of 
ideas about identifying the various combinations 
with cities and organizations and attaching color 
symbols to them and songs and things. He's full 
of ideas — an amazing young man, for a barbarian.” 

“He must be.” 

“Better let me buy you a piece of it. It’s a pure 
spec proposition and you can get in cheap — now. 
It'll make you rich.” 

“What use have I for any more money?" 

"I don’t know. You might spend it on me.” 

“That’s pretty silly. You're bloated with credit 

“Well, that brings me around to another subject. 
When we’re married you can really put your mind 
on helping me spend it." 

“Are you on that subject again?” 

“Why not? Times have changed. There is no 
obstacle any more. I’ve come around to Mordan’s 
way of thinking." 

“So Mordan told me.” 

“He did? Egg’s Name — everything goes on be- 
hind my back ! Never mind. When do we stat the 

“What makes you think we are going to?” 

"Huh? Wait a minute — I thought that all that 
stood between us was a difference of opinion about 

“You thought too much. What I said was that 
I would never marry a man who didn’t want chil- 

“But I understood you to say — ” He got up and 
moved nervously around the room. “Say, Phil — 
don't you like me?" 

"You're nice enough — in your own horrid way." 

"Then what’s the trouble?" 

She did not answer. 

Presently he said, “I don't know whether it 
makes any difference since you feel that way about 
it, but I love you — you know that, don't you?” 

"Come here.” He came to where she was sitting. 
She took him by the ears and pulled his head 

“Filthy, you big dope — you should have said that 
ten minutes ago.” She kissed him. 

Sometime later she said dreamily, "Filthy — " 

"Yes, darling?" 

“After we have Theobald we’ll have a little girl, 
and then another little boy, and then maybe an- 
other girl." 

“Um — ” 

"Unt-m-m — " 

She sat up. "What’s the matter? Aren’t you 
pleased at the prospect?" She looked at him 

“Sure, sure." 

“Then why are you looking so glum?" 

“I was thinking about Cliff. The poor lunk." 

“Hasn’t he found any trace of her yet?" 

"Nary a trace.” 

“Oh, dear!” She put her arms around him and 
held him. 

No sign of her in the Giant Forest, though he 
had cut the air back to the place. No woman had 
registered there with the given name of Marion. 
No one could he find who could identify her by 
his description. No ship had checked in there reg- 
istered to such a person. Nor did the owners of 
the ships that had been there know such a person 
— several of them knew Marions, but not the 
Marion — although three of them had responded to 
the description closely enough to »and him charg- 
ing across country, with wildly beating heart, on 
errands which cruelly disappointed him. 

There remained Johnson-Smith Estaire, at 



whose town house he had first seen her. He had 
consulted her at once, after his initial failure to 
find Marion still at the Park. No, she didn’t recall 
such a person. “After all, my dear Master Mon- 
roe-Alpha, the place was simply mobbed.” 

Did she keep a guest list? Yes, of course; what 
kind of a hostess did he think she was? Could he 
see it? She sent for her social secretary. 

There was no Marion on the list. 

He went back again. Could she have been mis- 
taken? No, there was no mistake. But people 
sometimes brought others along to such a party as 
that — had he thought of that? In that case the 
hostess would have no record of it. Did she re- 
call any such? No, she couldn’t — it was too much 
to ask. Would it be too much to ask to copy the 
guest list? Not at all — anything to oblige. 

But first he must listen to her. “It’s becoming 
simply impossible to get servants at any reasonable 
wage.” Couldn’t he do something about it. "Dear 
Master Monroe-Alpha.” In what way? He was 
the man who handled the dividend, wasn’t he? 
That was the trouble — with the dividend so high 
they simply would not enter service unless you 
simply bribed them, my dear. 

He tried to explain to her that he had no con- 
trol over the dividend, that he was simply the 
mathematical go-between for the facts of eco- 
nomics and the Policy Board. He could see that 
she did not believe him. 

He decided not to tell her, since he wanted a 
favor from her, that he himself would not choose 
to work as a personal servant for another unless 
driven to it by hunger. He tried to suggest that 
she make use of the excellent automaton furniture 
manufactured by her husband, supplemented by 
the help of the service companies. But she would 
have none of it. “So common, my dear. I tell you 
nothing replaces a well-trained servant. I should 
think people of that sort would take pride in such 
a profession. I’m sure I would if I were called to 
such a station in life.” 

Monroe-Alpha wondered where she had picked 
up such ideas, but he held his peace, and made 
sympathetic noises. Presently he got the list. 

Impatiently, but with aching care, he plodded 
through the list. Some of the addresses were out- 
side the Capital, some as far away as South Amer- 
ica — Johncon-Smith Estaire was a fashionable hos- 
tess. Those he could not question himself, not fast 
enough to satisfy the lump of misery inside hiqj. 
He must hire agents to track them down. He did 
so ; it took all the credit he had — personal service 
comes high! — he borrowed against his salary to 
make up the deficit. 

Two of the guests had died in the meantime. 
He set more agents to work, investigating tactfully 
their backgrounds and acquaintances, trying, try- 
ing to locate a woman named Marion. He dare 



not even leave these two deceased to the last, for 
fear the trail might grow cold. 

The others, those living in the Capital, he inves- 
tigated himself. No. we took no one with us to 
that party — certainly no one named Marion. Es- 
tate's party? — let me see, she gives so many. Oh. 
that one — no, I’m sorry. Now let me think— do 
you mean Selby Marion? No, Selby Marion is a 
little tiny woman with bright-red hair. Sorry, my 
dear fellow — care for a drink? No? What’s the 

Yes, surely. My cousin, Faircoat Marion. 
There’s a stereo of her over there, on the organ. 
Not the one you’re looking for? Well, signal me 
and tell me how you made out. Always glad to 
do a favor for a friend of Estaire’s. Fine woman, 
Estaire — always lots of fun at her place. 

We did take someone to that party — who was it, 
dear? Oh, yes, Reynolds Hans. He had some 
strange girl with him. No, I can’t remember her 
name — do you. dear? Me, I just call them all Lol- 
lipop, if they’re under thirty. But here’s Reyn- 
olds’ address : you might ask him. 

Master Reynolds did not consider it an intru- 
sion, no. Yes, he recalled the occasion — jolly 
brawl. Yes, he had escorted his cousin from San- 
frisco. Why, yes, her name was Marion — Hartnett 
Marion. How had he known her name? 

Say, that's interesting — done something like that 
himself once. Thought he’d lost track of the girl, 
only she turned up the following week at another 
party. Married, though, and in love with her hus- 
band — fortunately. 

No, he didn’t mean that Marion was married, but 
this other girl — kid named Francine. Did he have 
a picture of his cousin? Well, now, let me see, he 
didn’t think so. Wait now, he might have a flat 
pic, taken when they were kids, in a scrapbook 
somewhere. Where would that be? He was go- 
ing to clean out this flat some day and throw away 
a lot of this junk — never could find anything when 
he wanted it. 

Here it is — that's Marion, in the front row, sec- 
ond from the left. Was that the girl? 

It was she I It was she! 

How fast can a skyracer be pushed? How many 
corners can a man cut without being patrolled? 
Go — go —go! 

He paused for a moment and tried to still his 
racing heart, before signaling at the door. The 
scanner investigated him and the door dilated. 

He found her alone. 

He stopped when he saw her, unable to move, 
unable to speak, face white. 

“Come in," she said. 

“You . . . you’ll receive me?" 

“Of course. I’ve been waiting.’ 

He searched her eyes. They were warm and 

tender still, albeit troubled. “I don’t understand. 
I tried to burn you.” 

“You didn’t mean to. You didn’t want to.” 

“I — But — Oh, Marion, Marion!” He stum- 
bled forward toward her, and half fell. His head 
was in her lap. He shook with the racking sobs 
of one who had not learned how to cry. 

She patted his shoulder. “My dear. My dear." 

He looked up at last and found that her face 
was wet, even though he had heard no sound of 
tears. "I love you,” he said. He said it tragically, 
as if it were an irreparable harm. 

“I know. I love you." 

Much later, she said to him, "Come with me." 

He followed her on out into another room, where 
she busied herself at her wardrobe. “What are 
you doing?" 

“I’ve a few things to take care of first.” 


“This time I’m coming with you." 

On the flight back he used the phrase “ — after 
we’re married." She looked at him a little 

"You intend to marry me?" 

“Of course. If you'll have me." 

"You would marry a control natural?" 

“Why not?" He met the issue bravely, even 

Why not? Well. Roman citizens, proud of their 
patrician Latin blood, could have told him. The 
white aristocracy of the Old South could have, in 
their little day, explained to him in detail why 
not. "Aryan” race-myth apologists could have de- 
fined the reasons. Of course, in each case the per- 
sons giving the reasons would have had a different 
"race" in mind in explaining the obscene horror 
he contemplated committing, but their reasons 
would have been the same. Even Johnson-Smith 
Estaire could have explained to him "Why not”— 
and she would most certainly cut him off her list 
for stooping to such an alliance. 

After all. kings and emperors have lost their 
thrones for lesser miscegenations. 

“That was all I wanted to know," she said. 
“Come here, Clifford.” 

He came, a little mystified. She raised her left 
arm; he read the little figures tattooed there. The 
registration number was — no matter. But the 
classification letter was neither the "B” of a basic 
type, such as he bore, nor the CN of a control 
natural. It was X — experimental. 

She told him about it a little later. Her hyper- 
dexter great grandparents had both been control 
naturals. "Of course it shows a little,” she said. 
“I do catch colds — if I don’t take my pills. And 
sometimes I forget. I’m a sloppy person, Clif- 

A child of those two ancestors, her hyperdexter 
grandfather, had been identified, rather late in life, 
as a mutation, probably favorable — almost cer- 



tainly favorable. His mutation was no gross mat- 
ter. easily recognized, but was subtle and sublimi- 
nal. It had to do with emotional stability. Per- 
haps it would be easiest to say that he was more 
civilized than any man can be expected to be. 

Naturally, an attempt was made to conserve the 
mutation. She was one of the conservators. 


Phyllis squealed at him as he got home. “Felix!" 

He chucked the file case he had been carrying 
aside and kissed her. “What’s the trouble, Flut- 

“This. Look. Read it." “It” was a stat of a 
handwritten message. He read aloud: 

“ ‘Espartero Carvala presents her compliments 
to Madame Longcourt Phyllis and prays permis- 
sion to call on the morrow at half after sixteen 
hundred.’ Hm-m-m. You’re shooting high, dar- 

“But whatever am I to do?" 

“Do? Why, you put out your hand, say ‘How 
do you fare?’ and then serve her something — tea, 
I suppose, though they say she drinks like a fish.” 


“What’s the matter?" 

“Don't joke with me. What am I to do? I can’t 
entertain her. She’s a Policy Maker — I wouldn’t 
know what to say to her." 

“Suppose she is on the Policy Board. She’s hu- 
man, ain't she? Our home is all right, isn’t it? Go 
down and buy yourself a new gown — then you’ll 
feel fit for anything.” 

Instead of brightening up, she began to cry. He 
took her in his arms and said, "There, there! 
What’s the trouble? Did I say something wrong?" 

She stopped and dabbed at her eyes. "No. Just 
nerves, I guess. I’m all right.” 

"You startled me. You never did anything like 
that before.” 

“No. But I never had a baby before, either." 

“Yeah, that’s right. Well, cry, if it makes you 
feel better. But don't let this old fossil get under 
your skin, kid. You don’t have to receive her, you 
know. I'll call her and tell her you aren’t go- 
ing to.” 

She seemed quite recovered from her unease. 
“No, don’t do that. I'd really like to see her. I'm 
curious and I’m flattered." 

They had discussed with each other the question 
as to whether Madame Espartero Carvala had in- 
tended to call on both of them, or Phyllis only. 
Felix was reluctant to be present if his presence 
was not expected; he was equally reluctant to fail 
to show proper urbanity by not being present to 
receive a distinguished visitor. As he pointed out 
to Phyllis, it was his home as well as hers. 

He telephoned Mordan, since he knew that Mor- 

dan was much closer to such mighty and remote 
people than himself. Mcrdan gave him no help. 
“She's a rule unto herself, Felix. She’s quite 
capable of breaking every custom of polite con- 
duct, if she chooses.” 

“Any idea why she’s coming?” 

“Not the slightest. Sorry." Mordan himself 
wondered, but was honest enough with himself to 
admit that his guesses were unsound — no data; he 
simply did not understand the old girl, and knew 

Madame Espartero Carvala settled the matter 
herself. She came stumping in, supporting herself 
with a heavy cane. Clutched in her left hand was 
a lighted cigar. Hamilton approached her, bowed. 
"Madame — ” he began 

She peeied at him “You’re Hamilton Felix. 
Where's your wife?" 

“If madame will come with me." He attempted 
to offer her his arm for support. 

“I can manage,” she said rather ungraciously. 
Nevertheless she clamped the cigar in her teeth 
and took his arm. He was amazed to find how 
little she weighed, judging by the pressure on his 
arm — but the grip of her fingers was firm. Once 
in the lounging room, in the presence of Phyllis, 
she said, "Come here, child. Let me look at you.” 

Hamilton stood by foolishly, not knowing 
whether to seat himself or leave. The old lady 
turned, noticing that he was still there, and said, 
“You are very gracious to escort me in to your 
wife. I thank you.” The formal politeness of the 
words were oddly at variance with her first, brittle 
remarks, but they were not delivered in warm 
tones. Felix realized that he had been clearly and 
unmistakably dismissed. He got out. 

He went to his retiring room, selected a scroll- 
script, fitted it into the reader, and prepared to kill 
time until Carvala should leave. But he found 
himself unable to fix his attention on the story he 
selected. He found that he had used the rewind 
button three times and still had no notion of how 
the story started. 

Damn! he thought — I might as well have gone 
to the office. 

For he had an office — now. The thought made 
him smile a little. He was the man who was never 
going to be tied down, who had split his profits 
with a man-of-affairs rather than be troubled with 
business worries. Yet here he was, married, an 
expectant father, actually living at the same ad- 
dress as his wife, and — possessing an office! True, 
the office had nothing to do with his business af- 

He found himself actually engaged in the Great 
Research which Mordan had promised. Carruthers 
Alfred, former member of the Policy Board until 
he had retired to pursue his studies', had been co- 
opted as instigator for the enlarged project. He 



in turn had co-opted Hamilton. He had protested 
to Carruthers that he was no synthesist, nor sci- 
entist. Nevertheless Carruthers wanted him. “You 
have an erratic and unorthodox imagination,” he 
had said. “This job calls for imagination, the more 
heterodox the better. You needn’t do routine re- 
search if you don’t want to — plenty of patient 
technicians for that." 

Felix suspected that Mordan had had something 
to do with his selection, but did not press him 
about it. Mordan, Hamilton knew, had an over- 
rated opinion of his ability. Hamilton esteemed 
himself as a second-rater, a competent and high- 
powered man, but a second-rater none the less. 
That chart that Mordan talked about — you could 
not compress a man into a diagram and hang him 
on a wall. He was not that chart. And didn’t he 
know more about himself, from sitting on the in- 
side, than any genetic technician could learn by 
peering down the double barrel of a 'scope? 

But he had to admit he was glad that he had been 
invited into the project — it interested him. He 
had realized quite early that the enlarged project 
had not been taken up just to circumvent his balki- 
ness — the transcript of authorization had shown 
him that. But he did not feel cheated — Mordan 
had delivered everything that he had promised, and 
Felix had become interested in the project for its 
own sake — both projects. Both the great public 
project of the Great Research and the private mat- 
ter of himself, Phyllis, and their child to come. 

He wondered what the little tike would be like. 

Mordan seemed confident that he knew. He had 
shown them the diploid chromosome chart result- 
ing from their carefully chosen gametes and had 
expounded on just how the characteristics of the 
two parents would be combined in the child. Felix 
was not so sure; in spite of his own reasonably 
thorough knowledge of genetic theory and tech- 
nique he simply was not convinced that all of a 
human being's multifold complexity could be 
wrapped up in a little blob of protoplasm smaller 
than a pin point. It was not reasonable. There 
had to be something more to a man than that. 

Mordan had seemed to find it highly desirable 
that he and Phyllis possessed so many Mendelian 
characteristics in common. It not only, he pointed 
out, made the task of selection of gametes much 
simpler and shorter, but also insured reinforce- 
ment of those characteristics, genetically. Paired 
genes would be similar, instead of opposed. 

On the other hand, Hamilton found that Mor- 
dan looked with favor on the alliance of Monroe- 
Alpha and Hartnett Marion, although they were 
obviously as dissimilar as two persons could well 
be. Hamilton pointed out the inconsistency in rea- 
soning. Mordan had been unperturbed. 

"Each genetic case is a discreet individual. No 

rule in genetics is invariable. They complement 
each other.” 

It was certainly obvious that Marion had made 
Cliff happy, happier than Felix had ever seen him. 

The big dope. 

He had long been of the opinion that what Cliff 
needed was a keeper, someone to lead him around 
on a string, fetch him indoors when it rained, and 
tickle him when he pouted. (Not that the opin- 
ion subtracted from his very real devotion to his 

Marion seemed to qualify on all counts. She 
hardly let him out of her sight. 

She worked with him, under the euphemistic 
title of “special secretary.” 

‘“Special secretary?’ ” Hamilton had said, when 
Monroe-Alpha told him about it. “What does she 
do? Is she a mathematician?" 

“Not at all. She doesn't know a thing about 
mathematics — but she thinks I’m wonderful!" He 
grinned boyishly — Hamilton was startled to see 
how it changed his face. “Who am I to contradict 

“Cliff, if you keep that up, you’ll have a sense 
of humor yet." 

“She thinks I have one now.” 

“Perhaps you have. I knew a man who raised 
wart hogs once. He said they made the Bowers 
more beautiful.” 

“Why did he think that?” Monroe-Alpha was 
puzzled and interested. 

"Never mind. Just what is it that Marion does?" 

“Oh, a lot of little things. Keeps track of things 
I'd forget, brings me a cup of tea in the afternoon. 
Mostly she’s just here when I want her. When a 
concept won’t come straight and my head feels 
tired, I can look up and there’s Marion, just sitting 
there, looking at me. Maybe she's been reading, 
but when I look up I don’t have to say anything — 
she’s looking back at me. I tell you it helps. I 
never get tired any more.” He smiled again. 

Hamilton realized with sudden insight that there 
never had been anything wrong with Monroe- 
Alpha except that the poor boob had never been 
happy. He had had no defenses against the world 
— until now. Marion had enough for both of them. 

He had wanted to ask Cliff what Hazel thought 
of the new arrangements, but hesitated to do so, 
despite their close friendship. Monroe-Alpha 
brought it up himself. “You know, Felix, I was 
a little worried about Hazel." 


“Yes. I know she had said she wanted to enter 
a divorce, but I hadn’t quite believed her." 

“Why not?" Felix had inquired blandly. 

Monroe-Alpha had colored. “Now, Felix, you’re 
just trying to get me mixed up. Anyhow, she 
seemed positively relieved when I told her about 
Marion and me. She wants to take up dancing 



Felix thought with regret that it was a mistake 
for an artist, once retired, to attempt a comeback. 
But Cliff's next words made him realize he had 
been hasty. “It was Thorgsen’s idea — ” 

“Thorgsen? Your boss?” 

“Yes. He had been telling her about the out- 
stations, particularly the ones on Pluto, of course, 
but he mentioned Mars and the rest, I suppose. 
They don’t get much recreation, other than canned 
shows and reading.” Hamilton knew what he 
meant, although he had never thought much about 
it. With the exception of the tourist cities on 
Luna there was nothing to attract human beings 
to the other planets, save for exploration and re- 
search. The devoted few who put up with the un- 
earthly hardships necessarily lived a monklike ex- 
istence. Luna was a special case, naturally; being 
practically in Earth's front yard and an easy jump, 
it was as popular for romantic holidays as South- 
pole had once been. 

“She got the idea, or Thorgsen suggested it to 
her, of getting together a diversified traveling 
troupe to play a circuit of all the outposts.” 

“It doesn't sound commercial.” 

"It doesn't have to be. Thorgsen took the mat- 
ter up for subsidy. He argued that, if research 
and exploration were necessary, then morale of the 
personnel involved was a government matter, in 
spite of the long-standing policy against govern- 
ment participation in the entertainment business, 
luxury business, or fine arts." 

Hamilton whistled. “Nice going! Why, that 
principle was almost as rock solid as civil rights." 

“Yes, but it was r.ot a matter of constitution. 
And the Planners are no fools. They don’t neces- 
sarily follow precedent. Look at this job we're on." 

"Yes, surely. Matter of fact, that was what I 
dropped in to see you about. I wanted to see how 
you were getting along.” 

At the time of this conversation Hamilton was 
feeling his way into the whole picture of the Great 
Research. Carruthers had given him no fixed in- 
structions, but had told him to spend a few weeks 
sizing up the problem. 

The phase of the research occupying Monroe- 
Alpha’s attention — Thorgsen’s project, the Grand 
Eidouraniun — was much further advanced than 
any other aspect of the whole project, since it had 
been conceived originally as a separate matter be- 
fore the Great Research, which included it, had 
been thought of. Monroe-Alpha had come into it 
rather late, but Hamilton had assumed subcon- 
sciously that his friend would be the dominant fig- 
ure in it. This, Monroe-Alpha maintained, was not 

"Hargrave is much more fitted for this sort of 
work than I am. I take my directions from him — 
myself, and about sixty others.” 

“How come? I thought you were tops in the 
numbers racket.” 

“I have my specialty and Hargrave knows how 
to make the best use of it. You apparently have 
no idea of how diversified and specialized mathe- 
matics is, Felix. I remember a congress I attended 
last year — more than a thousand present, but there 
weren't more than a dozen men there I could really 
talk to, or understand.” 

“Hm-m-m. What does Thorgsen do?” 

“Well, naturally, he isn’t of much use in design 
— he’s an astrophysicist, or, more properly, a cos- 
mic metrician. But he keeps in touch and his sug- 
gestions are always practical.” 

“I see. Well — got everything you want?” 

“Yes,” admitted Monroe-Alpha, "unless you 
should happen to have concealed, somewhere about 
your person, a hypersphere, a hypersurface, and 
some four-dimensional liquid, suitable for fine lu- 

“Thanks. You can hand me back my leg now. 
I see I’ve been wrong again — you are acquiring a 
sense of humor.” 

“I am quite serious about it," Cliff answered 
without cracking a smile, “even though I haven’t 
the slightest idea where I could find such nor how 
I could manipulate it if I did.” 

“For why? Give." 

“I would like to set up a four-dimensional in- 
tegrator to integrate from the solid surface of a 
four-dimensional cam. It would greatly shorten 
our work if we could do such a thing. The irony 
of it is that I can describe the thing I want to 
build, in mathematical symbology, quite nicely. It 
would do work, which we now have to do with 
ordinary ball-and-plane integrators and ordinary 
three-dimensional cams, in one operation whereas 
the system we use calls for an endless series of 
operations. It’s a little maddening — the theory is 
so neat and the results are so unsatisfactory.” 

“I grieve for you," Hamilton had answered, “but 
you had better take it up with Hargrave.” 

He had left soon after that. It was evident that 
those human calculating machines needed nothing 
from him, and that they knew what they were do- 
ing. The project was important, damned impor- 
tant he thought it was — to investigate what the 
Universe had been and what it would become. But 
it was certainly a long-distance matter and he him- 
self would never live to see the end of it. Cliff 
had told him with a perfectly straight face that 
they hoped to check their preliminary calculations 
in a matter of three or three and a half centuries. 
After that they could hope to build a really worth- 
while machine which might tell them things they 
did not already know. 

So he dismissed the matter. He admired the sort 
of intellectual detachment which would permit 
men to work on such a scale, but it was not his 



The Great Research in its opening phases 
seemed to fall into half a dozen major projects, 
some of which interested him more than others be- 
cause they gave some hope of producing results 
during his lifetime. Some, however, were almost 
as colossal as the building of the Grand Eidou- 
raniun. The distribution of life through the physi- 
cal universe, for example, and the possibility that 
other, nonhuman intelligences existed somewhere. 
If there were such, then it was possible, with an 
extremely high degree of mathematical proba- 
bility, that some of them, at least, were more 
advanced than men. 

In which case they might give Man a ‘‘leg up" 
in his philosophical education. They might have 
discovered “Why" as well as “How.” 

It had been pointed out that it might be ex- 
tremely dangerous, psychologically, for human be- 
ings to encounter such superior creatures. There 
had been the tragic case of the Australian Abo- 
rigines in not too remote historical times — de- 
moralized and finally exterminated by their own 
sense of inferiority in the presence of the coloniz- 
ing Anglish. 

The investigators serenely accepted the danger; 
they were not bo constituted as to be able to do 

Hamilton was not sure it was a danger. To some 
it might be, but he himself could not conceive of 
a man such as Mordan, for example, losing his 
morale under any circumstances. In any case it 
was a long-distance project. First they must 
roach the stars, which required inventing and 
building a starship. That would take a bit of do- 
ing. The great ships which plied the lonely 
reaches between the planets were simply not up 
to it, any more than a groundcar could fly. Some 
new drive must be found, if the trips were not to 
take generations for each leg. 

Some application of nuclear-fission power per- 
haps — so cheap and immense, but still so hard to 
handle. Or perhaps the hydrogen-helium degenera- 
tion, the “Solar Phoenix,” which seemed to be the 
inner source of power of all the stars — nuclear 
power, too, but not one used in terrestrial power 

That they would find life elsewhere in the Uni- 
verse he was quite sure, although millennia of 
exploration might intervene. After all, he consid- 
ered, the Universe was roomy! It had taken Eu- 
ropeans four centuries to spread throughout the 
two continents of the "New World" — what about 
a galaxy I 

But Life they would find. It was not only an 
inner conviction; it was just short of scientific 
fact, for it was a tight inference of one stage only 
from established fact. Arrhenius the Great had 
set forth the brilliant speculation, sometime 
around the beginning of the twentieth century, 
that life-potent spores might be carried from 

planet to planet, from star to star, pushed along 
by light pressure. The optimum size for motes to 
be carried along by light pressure happens to be 
on the same order as the sizes of bacilli. And 
bacilli spores are practically unkillable — heat, cold, 
radiation, time — they sleep through it until lodged 
in a favorable environment. 

Arrhenius calculated that spores could drift to 
Alpha Centauri in around nine thousand years— 
a mere cosmic blink of the eye. 

If Arrhenius were right, then the Universe was 
populated, not just Earth. It mattered not whether 
life had originated first on Earth, first elsewhere, 
or in many different neighborhoods, once started 
it had to spread. Millions of years before space- 
ships it had spread — if Arrhenius were right. For 
spores alone, lodging and multiplying, would in- 
fect an entire planet with whatever forms of life 
were suited to that planet. Protoplasm is protean; 
any simple protoplasm can become any complex 
form of life under mutation and selection. 

Arrhenius had been spectacularly vindicated, in 
part, in the early days of interplanetary explora- 
tion. Life had been found on all the planets, save 
Mercury and Pluto; even on Pluto there were 
signs of feeble, primitive life in the past. Fur- 
thermore, protoplasm seemed to be much the same 
wherever found — incredibly varied but presumably 
related. It was disappointing not to have found 
recognizable intelligence in the Solar System — it 
would have been nice to have had neighbors! (The 
poor degenerate starveling descendants of the 
once-mighty Builders of Mars can hardly be de- 
scribed as intelligent — except in charity. A half- 
witted dog could cheat them at cards.) 

But the most startling and satisfying vindica- 
tion of Arrhenius lay in the fact that spores had 
been trapped out in space itself, in the supposedly 
sterile raw vacuum of space! 

Hamilton admitted that he did not expect the 
search for other living intelligences to bear fruit 
during his tenure on Terra, unless they got a hump 
on themselves in dreaming up that starship and 
then hit the jackpot on the first or second try. 
And again it wa6 not his forte — he might cook up 
a few gadgets for them as auxiliary mechanicals in 
making the ship more livable, but for the key prob- 
lem, motive power, he was about twenty years too 
late in specializing. No, keep in touch, kibitz a 
little, and report to Carruthers — that was all he 
could do. 

But there were still several other research pos- 
sibilities already under way, things that had to do 
with human beings, with men, in their more eso- 
teric and little-studied aspects. Things that no- 
body knew anything about anyhow and which he 
could, therefore, tackle on an equal footing with 
others, catch-as-catch-can, and no holds barred. 
Where does a man go after he’s dead? And, con- 


versely, where does he come from? He made a’ 
mental note of that latter — it suddenly occurred 
to him that most of the attention had been given 
to the first half of the paired question. What is 
telepathy and how do you make it tick? How is it 
that a man can live another life in his dreams? 
There were dozens more, all questions science had 
refused to tackle because they were too slippery — 
had in fact walked away from them like a dis- 
gruntled cat. All of them related to some trouble- 
some characteristic of the human personality — 
whatever that was — and any of them might lead to 
an answer as to purpose — meaning. 

He felt toward these questions the free and easy 
attitude of the man who was asked if he could pilot 
a rocket: “I don't know — I've never tried.” 

Well, he would try. And he would help Car- 
ruthers see to it that many others tried, strongly, 
consistently, following out every approach that 
could be thought of, and keeping meticulous, full, 
scientific records. They would track down the 

Ego, trap it, and put a band on its leg. 

What was an ego? He didn’t know, but he knew 
he was one. By which he did not mean his body, 
nor, by damn, his genes. He could localize it — 
on the center line, forward of his ears, back of his 
eyes, and about four centimeters down from the 
top of the skull — no, more like six. That was 
where he himself lived — when he was home. He 
would bet on it, to the nearest centimeter. He 
knew closer than that, but he couldn’t get in and 
measure it. 

Of course, he wasn’t home all the time. 

Hamilton could not figure out just why Car- 
ruthers wanted him, but then, he had not been 
present at an exchange between Mordan and Car- 
ruthers. “How is my problem child getting 
along?” Mordan had inquired. 

"Quite well, Claude. Quite well indeed.” 

"What are you using him for?” 

“Well — ” Carruthers pursed his lips. “I’m using 
him as a philosopher, only he does not know it.” 

Mordan chuckled. “Better not let him know. I 
think he might be offended to be called a phi- 

"I shan’t. Really, he’s quite useful to me. You 
know how impossible most specialists are, and 
how pedantic most of our brother synthesists.” 

"Tut, tut. Such heresy.” 

“Isn’t it, though? But Felix iB useful to me. 
He has an active, uninhibited mind. His mind 

“I told you he was a star line.” 

"Yes, you did. Every now and then you genetics 
laddies come out with the right answer." 

“May your bed spring a leak,” Mordan answered. 
"We can't always be wrong in view of the num- 
bers we deal with. The Great Egg must love hu- 
man beings, he made a lot of them." 

“Same argument applies to oysters, only more 

"That’s different," said Mordan. "I'm the one 
who loves oysters. Have you had dinner?” 

Felix sat up with a start. The house phone at 
his elbow was chiming. He flipped the come-along 
tab and heard Phyllis’ voice. "Felix, my dear, will 
you come in and say good-by to Madame Espar- 

"Coming, dear.” 

He returned to the lounge, feeling vaguely un- 
settled. He had forgotten the presence in their 
home of the ancient Planner. 

"Madame, will you graciously permit — ” 

"Come here, lad!” she said sharply. “I want to 
see you in the light.” He came forward and stood 
before her, feeling somewhat as he always had as 
a child when the development center therapists 
checked over his growth and physical develop- 
ment. Damnation, he thought, she looks at me as 


if I were a horse and she a buyer. 

She stood up suddenly and grasped her stick. 
“You’ll do,” she stated, as if the knowledge some- 
how annoyed her. She extracted a fresh cigar 
from somewhere about her person, turned to 
Phyllis, and said. “Good-by, child. And thank 
you." Whereupon she started for the door. 

Felix had to hurry to catch up with her and let 
her out. 

Felix returned to Phyllis, and said savagely, “A 
man that did that would be challenged." 

"Why, Felix!” 

“I detest,” he stated, “these damned emphatic 
old women. I have never seen why politeness 
should be the obligation of the young and rude- 
ness the privilege of age." 

“Why, Felix, she's not like that at all. I think 
she’s rather a dear." 

"She doesn't act like it.” 

“Oh, she doesn’t mean anything by that. I think 
she’s just always in a hurry." 

“Why should she be?" 

“Wouldn’t you be — at her age?" 

He hadn't thought of it from that point of view. 
“Maybe you’re right. Sands of time, and so forth. 
What did the two of you talk about?" 

“Oh — lots of things. When I expected the baby 
and what we were going to name him and what 
plans we had for him and things." 

“I’ll bet she did most of the talking." 

“No, I did most of the talking. Occasionally 
she put in a question." 

"Do you know, Phyllis," he said soberly, "one of 
the things I like least about the whole business of 
you and me and him is the quivering interest that 
outsiders take in it. No more privacy than a guppy 
in an aquarium.” 

“I know what you mean, but I didn't feel that 
way with her. We talked women talk. It was 


“Anyway, Bhe didn’t talk much about Theobald. 
I told her we intended to have a little sister for 
Theobald presently. She was very much inter- 
ested. She wanted to know when, and what plans 
we had for her. and what we intended to name her. 
I hadn’t thought about that. What do you think 
would be a nice name, Felix?" 

“Egg knows — seems to me that’s rushing mat- 
ters a little. I hope you told her that it would be 
a long, long time." 

“I did, but she seemed a little disappointed. But 
I want to be myself for a while, after Theobald 
comes. How do you like the name ‘Justina’?" 

“Seems all right," he answered. “What about 

“She suggested it.” 

“She did? Whose baby does she think it’s going 
to be?" 


"Now, Felix, don't get yourself excited." 

“But, Claude, she’s been in there a long time!” 

“Not very long.” 

"But — Claude, you biologist johnnies should 
have worked out something better than this.” 

"Such as?” 

“How should I know? Ectogenesis, maybe." 

“We could practice ectogenesis,” Mordan an- 
swered imperturbably, if we wished. It has been 
done. But it would be a mistake." 

“Egg’s sake — why?" 

“Contra-survival in nature. The race would be 
dependent on complex mechanical assistance to re- 
produce. The time might come when it wasn't 
available. Survivor types are types that survive in 
difficult times as well as easy times. An ecto- 
genetic race couldn’t cope with really hard, primi- 
tive conditions. But ectogenesis isn't new — it’s 
been in use for millions of years.” 

“No, I suppose it — Huh? How long did you 

"Millions of years. What is egg-laying but 
ectogenesis? It's not efficient; it risks the infant 
zygotes too hazardously. The great auk and the 
dodo might still be alive today, if they had not 
been ectogenetic. No, Felix, we mammals have 
a better method." 

“That’s all right for you to say," Felix replied 
glumly. “It’s not your wife that's concerned." 

Mordan forbore to answer this. He went on, 
making conversation. "The same applies to any 
technique which makes life easier at the expense 
of hardiness. Ever hear of a bottle-baby, Felix? 
No, you would not have — it's an obsolete term. 
But it has to do with why the barbarians nearly 
died out after the Second Genetic War. They 
weren’t all killed, you know — there are always sur- 
vivors, no matter how fierce the war. But they 
were mostly bottle-babies, and the infant genera- 
tion thinned out to almost nothing. Not enough 
bottles and not enough cows. Their mothers 
could not feed them." 

Hamilton raised a hand irritably. Mordan’s 
serene detachment — for such he assumed it to be — 
from the events at hand annoyed him. 

“The deuce with that stuff. Got another ciga- 

"You have one in your hand," Mordan pointed 

"Eh? So I have!” Quite unconsciously he 
snuffed it out, and took another one from his own 
pouch. Mordan smiled and said nothing. 

“What time is it?" 

"Fifteen forty.” ‘ . 

“Is that all? It must be later." 

“Wouldn’t you be less jumpy if you were in- 

“Phyllis won’t let me. You know how she is, 



Claude — a whim of steel.” He smiled, but there 
was no gaiety in it. 

“You are both rather dynamic and positive.” 

“Oh, we get along. She lets me have my own 
way, and later I find out I’ve done just what she 
wanted me to do.” 

Mordan had no difficulty in repressing his smile. 
He was beginning to wonder at the delay himself. 
He told himself that his interest was detached, 
impersonal, scientific. But he had to go on telling 

The door dilated; an attendant showed herself. 
“You may come in now," she announced with brisk 

Mordan was closer to the door; he started to go 
in first. Hamilton made a long arm, grabbed him 
by the shoulder. “Hey! What goes on here? 
Who’s the father in this deal, anyhow?” He 
pushed himself into the lead. “You wait your 

She looked a little pale. “Hello, Felix.” 

“Hello, Phil." He bent over her. “You all 

“Of coufte I’m all right — this is what I’m for.” 
She looked at him. “And get that silly smirk off 
your face. After all, you didn’t invent father- 

“You’re sure you’re all right?” 

“I'm fine. But I must look a fright." 

"You look beautiful." 

A voice at his ear said, “Don't you want to see 
your son?” 

"Eh? Oh — sure!" He turned and looked. Mor- 
dan straightened up and stood out of the way. 
The attendant held the baby up, half inviting him 
to hold it, but he kept his arms down and looked 
it over gingerly. It seemed to have the usual num- 
ber of arms and legs, he thought, but that bright 
orange color — well, he didn't know. Maybe it was 

"Don’t you approve of him?” Phyllis asked 

“Huh? Sure, sure. It’s a beautiful baby. He 
looks like you.” 

"Babies,” said Phyllis, "don’t look like anyone, 
except other babies." 

“Oh, but he does!” 

“Why, Master Hamilton,” put in the attendant, 
“how you are sweating! Don't you feel well?” 
Transferring the baby with casual efficiency to her 
left arm, she picked up a pad and wiped his fore- 
head. “Take it easy. Seventy years in this one 
location and we’ve never lost a father." 

Hamilton started to tell her that the gag was 
ancient when the establishment was new, but he 
restrained himself. He felt a little inhibited, a 
rare thing for him. “We’ll take the child out for 
a while,” the attendant went on. “Don’t stay 

Mordan excused himself cheerily and left. 

“Felix,” she said thoughtfully, “I’ve been think- 
ing about something." 


"We’ve got to move." 

“Why? I thought you liked our place.” 

“I do. But I want a place in the country." 

He looked suddenly apprehensive. “Now, dar- 
ling, you know I'm not the bucolic type.” 

"You don't have to move if you don’t want to. 
But Theobald and I are going to. I want him to 
be able to get himself dirty and have a dog and 
things like that.” 

"But why be so drastic? All development cen- 
ters run to the air and sunshine and the good earth 

"I don’t want him spending all his time in de- 
velopment centers. They're necessary, but they're 
no substitute for family life." 

"I was raised in development centers.” 

"Take a look at yourself in the mirror.” 

The child grew in no particularly spectacular 
fashion. He crawled at a reasonable age, tried to 
stand, burned his fingers a few times, tried to swal- 
low the usual quota of unswallowable objects. 

Mordan seemed satisfied. So did Phyllis. Felix 
had no criteria. 

At nine months Theobald attempted a few 
words, then shut up for a long time. At fourteen 
months he began speaking in sentences, short and 
of his own structure, but sentences. The subjects 
of his conversation, or, rather, his statements, were 
consistently egocentric. Normal again — no one 
expects an infant to write essays on the beauties 
of altruism. 

“That," remarked Hamilton to Mordan one day. 
hooking a thumb toward where Theobald sat 
naked in the grass, trying to remove the ears from 
a nonco-operative and slightly indignant puppy, 
“is your superchild, is he not?" 

“Mm, yes.” 

“When does he start doing his miracles?” 

"He won’t do miracles. He is not unique in any 
one respect; he is simply the best we can conceive 
in every respect. He is uniformly normal, in the 
best sense of the word — optimum, rather.” 

"Hm-m-m. Well, I’m glad he doesn’t have ten- 
tacles growing out of his ears, or a bulging fore- 
head. or something like that. Come here, son.” 

Theobald ignored him. He could be deaf when 
he chose; he seemed to find it particularly diffi- 
cult to hear the word “No." Hamilton got up, 
went over and picked him up. He had no useful 
purpose in mind; he just wanted to cuddle the 
child for a while for his own amusement. Theo- 
bald resisted being separated from the pup for a 
moment, then accepted the change. He could soak 
up a great deal of petting — when it suited him. If 



it really did not suit him, he could be extremely 

Even to the extent of biting. He and his father 
had put in a difficult but instructive half hour in 
his fifteenth month settling the matter. Beyond 
cautioning Felix to be careful not to damage the 
brat, Phyllis had let them have it out. Theobald 
did not bite any more, but Felix had a permanent, 
small, ragged scar on his left thumb. 

Hamilton was almost inordinately fond of the 
child, although he was belligerently offhand in his 
manner. It hurt him that the child did not really 
seem to care anything about him and would as 
readily accept petting and endearments from 
“Uncle Claude" — or a total stranger — if he hap- 
pened to be in the mood to accept anything of the 

On Mordan’s advice and by Phyllis’ decision 
(Felix was not offered a vote in the matter — she 
was quite capable of reminding him that she, and 
not he, was a psychopediatrician) Theobald was 
not taught to read any earlier than the usual age 
of thirty months, although experimental testing 
showed that he could comprehend the basic idea 
of abstracted symbols a little earlier than that: 
She used the standard extensionalized technique 
of getting a child to comprehend symbolic group- 
ing-by-abstracted-characteristics while emphasiz- 
ing individual differences. Theobald was rather 
bored with the matter and appeared to make no 
progress at all for the first three weeks. Then he 
seemed suddenly to get the idea that there might 
be something in it for him — apparently by recog- 
nizing his own name on a stat which Felix had 
transmitted from his office. This point is not cer- 
tain, but shortly thereafter he took the lead in his 
own instruction and displayed the concentrated 
interest he was capable of. 

Nine weeks after the instruction began it was 
finished. Reading was an acquired art; further in- 
struction would merely have gotten in his way. 
Phyllis let him be and restricted her efforts in the 
matter to seeing to it that only such reading mat- 
ter was left in his reach as she wished him to at- 
tempt. Otherwise he would have read anything 
he could lay hands on; as it was she had to steal 
scrolls from him when she wanted him to exercise 
or eat. 

Felix worried about the child’s obsession with 
printed matter. Phyllis told him not to. “It will 
wear off. We’ve suddenly extended his psycho 
field; he’s got to explore it for a while.” 

"It didn’t wear off with me. I still read when 
I should be doing something else. It's a vice." 

Theobald read stumblingly and with much sub- 
vocalization and was, of course, forced to call for 
help frequently when he ran on to symbols new 
to him and not sufficiently defined by context. A 
home is not as well equipped for extensional in- 

AST— 6E 

struction as a development center. In a center no 
words appear in a primer which are not repre- 
sented by examples which can be pointed to, or, 
if the words are action symbols, the actions are 
such that they can be performed there and then. 

But Theobald was through with primers before 
he should have been and their home, although com- 
fortably large, would have needed to be of museum 
size to accommodate samples in groups of every 
referent he inquired about. Phyllis’ resource- 
fulness and histrionic ability were stretched to the 
limit, but she stuck to the cardinal principle of 
semantic pedagogy: Never define a new symbol in 
terms of symbols already known if it is possible 
to point to a referent instead. 

The child's eidetic memory first became evident 
in connection with reading. He read rapidly, if 
badly, and remembered what he read. Not for him 
was the childish custom of cherishing and re- 
reading favorite books. A once-read scroll was to 
him an empty sack; he wanted another. 

“What does ’infatuated' mean, mamma?” He 
made this inquiry in the presence of his father and 

“Hm-m-m," she began guardedly, “tell me what 
words you found it sitting with." 

“ ‘It is not that I am merely infatuated with you, 
as that old goat Mordan seems to think — ’ I don't 
understand that either. Is Uncle Claude a goat? 
He doesn’t look like one.” 

"What,” said Felix, “has that child been reading 
now?" Mordan said nothing, but he cocked a brow 
at Felix. 

“I think I recognize it," Phyllis said in an aside 
to Felix. Then, turning back to the child, she 
added, "Where did you find it? Tell Phyllis.” 

No answer. 

“Was it in Phyllis’ desk?" She knew that it had 
been; there was secreted in there a bundle of stats, 
mementos of the days before she and Felix had 
worked out their differences. She had the habit of 
re-reading them privately and secretly. “Tell 

“Yes.” 4 

"That’s out of bounds, you know.” 

“You didn't see me," he stated triumphantly. 

"No, that is true.” She thought rapidly. She 
wished to encourage his truthfulness, but to place 
a deterrent on disobedience. To be sure, dis- 
obedience was more often a virtue than a sin, but — 
Oh, well ! She tabled the matter. 

Felix muttered, “That child seems to have no 
moral sense whatsoever.” 

“Have you?” she asked him, and turned back to 

“There was lots more, mamma. Want to hear it?” 

“Not just now. Let’s answer your two questions 

"But, Phyllis,” Felix interrupted. 

“Wait, Felix. I’ve got to answer his questions.” 



“Suppose you and I step out into the garden for 
a smoke.” Mordan suggested. “Phyllis is going to 
be fairly busy for a while.” 

Quite busy. “Infatuated" was. in itself, quite 
a hurdle, but how to explain to a child in his forty- 
second month the allegorical use of symbols? She 
was not entirely successful; Theobald referred to 
Mordan indiscriminately thereafter for a long time 
as “Uncle Claude” or "Old Goat.” 

Eidetic memory is a Mendelian recessive. Both 
Phyllis and Felix had the gene-group for it from 
one Ancestor each ; Theobald had it from both his 
parents, by selection. The potentiality, masked as 
recessive in each of his parents, was therefore ef- 
fective in him. Both “recessive” and “dominant" 
are relative terms; dominants do not cancel re- 
cessives like symbols in an equation. Both Phyllis 
and Felix had excellent, unusual memories. Theo- 
bald's memory was well-nigh perfect. 

Recessive Mendelian characteristics are usually 
undesirable ones. The reason is simple — dominant 
characteristics get picked over by natural selection 
every generation. (It should be emphasized again 
at this point that artificial selection of genes in no 
way puts a stop to natural selection. Natural se- 
lection — the dying out of the poorly equipped — 
goes on day in and day out, inexorable and auto- 
matic. It is as tireless, as inescapable, as entropy.) 
A really bad dominant will weed itself out of the 
race in a few generations. The worst dominants 
appear only as original mutations, since they either 
kill their bearers, or preclude reproduction. Em- 
bryo-cancer is such a one — complete sterility is an- 
other. But a recessive may be passed on from gen- 
eration to generation, masked and not subjected to 
natural selection. In time a generation may ar- 
rive in which a child receives the recessive from 
both parents — up it pops, strong as ever. That is 
why the earlier geneticists found it so hard to 
eliminate such recessives as hemophilia and deaf- 
mutism; it was impossible, until the genes in ques- 
tion were charted by extremely difficult indirect 
and inferential means, to tell whether or not an 
adult, himself in perfect health, was actually 
“clean." He might pass on something grisly to his 
children. Nobody knew. 

Felix demanded of Mordan why, in view of the 
bad reputation of recessives, eidetic memory 
should happen to be recessive rather than domi- 

“I’ll answer that twice.” said Mordan. "In the 
first place the specialists are still arguing as to 
why some things are recessives, and others domi- 
nants. In the second place, why call eidetic mem- 
ory a desirable trait?” 

“But — for Egg’s sake! You selected for it for 

“To be sure we did — for Theobald. ‘Desirable’ 
is a relative term. Desirable for whom ? Complete 

memory is an asset only if you have the mind to 
handle it; otherwise it’s a curse. One used to find 
such cases occasionally, before your time and mine 
— poor simple souls who were bogged down in the 
complexities of their own experience; they knew 
every tree but could not find the forest. Besides 
that, forgetting is an anodyne and a blessing to 
most people. They don’t need to remember much 
and they don’t. It’s different with Theobald.” 

They had been talking in Mordan’s office. He 
took from his desk a file of memoranda, arranged 
systematically on perhaps a thousand small 
punched cards. "See this? I haven’t looked it 
over yet — it’s data the technicians supply me with. 
Its arrangement is quite as significant as its con- 
tent — more so, perhaps.” He took the file and 
dumped the cards out onto the floor. “The data 
is still all there, but what use is it now?" He 
pressed a stud on his desk; his new file secretary 
entered. "Albert, will you please have these fed 
into the Borter again? I’m afraid I’ve randomed 

Albert looked surprised, but said, "Sure, chief," 
and took the pied cards away. 

“Theobald has the brain power, to speak loosely, 
to arrange his data, to be able to find it when he 
wants it, and to use it. He will be able to see how 
what he knows is related in its various parts, and 
to abstract from the mass significantly related de- 
tails. Eidetic memory is a desirable trait in him." 

No doubt — but sometimes it did not seem so to 
Hamilton. As the child grew older he developed 
an annoying habit of correcting his elders about 
minutiae, in which he was always maddeningly ac- 
curate. “No, mother, it was not last Wednesday; 
it was last Thursday. I remember because that 
was the day that daddy took me walking up past 
the reservoir and we saw a pretty lady dressed in 
a green jumpsuit and daddy smiled at her and she 
stopped and asked me what my name was and I 
told her my name was Theobald and that daddy’s 
name was Felix and that I was four years and one 
month old. And daddy laughed and she laughed 
and then daddy said — " 

“That will do," said Felix. "You’ve made your 
point. It was Thursday. But it is not necessary 
to correct people on little things like that.” 

“But when they’re wrong I have to tell them!” 

Felix let it ride, but he reflected that Theobald 
might need to be inordinately fast with a gun when 
he was older. 

Felix had developed a fondness for country life, 
little as he had wanted to undertake it. Had it not 
been for his continuous work on the Great Re- 
search he might have taken up horticulture seri- 
ously. There was something deeply satisfying, he 
found, in making a garden do what he wanted it 
to do. 

He would have spent all his holidays fussing 



with his plants, if Phyllis had concurred. But her 
holidays were less frequent than his, since she had 
resumed putting in one shift a day at the nearest 
primary development center as soon as Theobald 
was old enough to need the knocking around he 
would get from other children. When she did 
have a holiday she liked to go somewhere — a fly- 
ing picnic, usually. 

They had to live near the Capital, because of 
Felix’s work, but the Pacific was only a little over 
five hundred kilometers west of them. It was con- 
venient to pack a lunch, get to the beach in time 
for a swim and a nice, long, lazy bake, then eat. 

Felix wanted to see the boy’s reaction the first 
time he saw the ocean. “Well, son, this is it. What 
do you think of it?" 

Theobald scowled out at the breakers. "It’s all 
right," he grudged. 

“What’s the matter?” 

“The water looks sick. And the sun ought to 

be off that way, not here. And where’s the big 

"What big trees?” 

"You know.” 

"I’m sorry; I don’t.” 

“The high slim ones, with big bushes at the top.” 

"Hm-m-m — what’s wrong with the water?” 

"It ain’t blue." 

Hamilton walked back to where Phyllis sprawled 
on the sand. “Can you tell me,” he said slowly, 
“whether or not Baldy has ever seen stereos of 
royal palms — on a beach, a tropical beach?" 

"Not that I know of. Why?" 

“Think back. Did you use such a picture to ex- 
tensionalize for him?” 

“No, I’m sure of that." 

“You know what he’s read — has he seen any flat- 
picture like that?" 

She checked back through her own excellent and 
well-arranged memory. “No, I would have re- 



membered it. I would never have put such a pic- 
ture in his way without explaining it to him." 

The incident occurred before Theobald had been 
entered at the development center; what he had 
seen, he had seen at home. Of course it was pos- 
sible that he had seen it in a news or story cast in 
the receiver at home, but he could not start the 
machine himself and neither of them recalled such 
a scene. Nevertheless, it was funny, damned 

“What did you start to say, dear?" 

Hamilton gave a slight start. "Nothing, nothing 
at all.” 

“What kind of ‘nothing'?” 

He shook his head. "Too fantastic. My mind 
was wandering.” 

He went back to the boy and attempted to pump 
him for details in an attempt to ferret out the 
mystery. But Theobald was not talking. In fact, 
he was not even listening. He said so. 

On a similar occasion but much later an event 
occurred which was quite as disturbing, but a little 
more productive. Felix and the boy had been 
splashing in the surf, until they were quite tired. 
At least Felix was, which made a majority with 
only one dissent. They lay down on the sand and 
let the sun dry them. Presently the salt drying 
on the skin made them itch, as it has a habit of 

Felix scratched Theobald between the shoulder 
blades — that awkward spot — and reflected to him- 
self how catlike the child was in many ways, even 
to the sybaritic way in which he accepted this 
small sensuous pleasure. Just now it suited him 
to be petted; a moment later he might be as 
naughty and distant as a Persian tom. Or, like the 
cat, he might decide to cuddle. 

Then Felix lay on his stomach, Theobald strad- 
dled his back and returned the favor. Felix was 
beginning to feel rather catlike himself — it felt so 
good! — when he began to be aware of a curious 
and almost inexplicable phenomenon : 

When one human monkey does another the great 
service of scratching him, delightful as it is, it 
never quite hits the spot. With infuriating ob- 
tuseness, despite the most careful coaching, the 
scratcher will scratch just above, just below, all 
around the right spot, but never, never, never quite 
on it, until, in sheer frustration, the scratchee will 
nearly dislocate his shoulder going after it for 

Felix was giving Theobald no instructions; in 
fact, he was nearly faling asleep under the warm 
relaxing ecstasy of his son’s ministrations, when 
he suddenly snapped to alert attention. 

Theobald was scratching where Felix itched! 

The exact spot. An area of sensation had only 
to show up for him to pounce on it and scratch 
it out of existence. 

This was another matter that had to be taken up 
with Phyllis. He got up and explained what had 
happened to her, attempting the meanwhile to keep 
it from the child’s attention by suggesting that he 
go for a run down the beach — "But don’t go in 
more than ankle deep!” 

“Just try him,” he added, when he had told her 
of it. “He can do it. He really can.” 

"I’d like to,” she said. “But I can't. I’m sorry 
to say that I am still fresh and clean and free from 
vulgar distresses.” 

“Phyllis — ” 

“Yes. Felix?" 

"What kind of a person can scratch where an- 
other person itches?" 

"An angel.” 

“No, seriously.” 

“You tell me." 

"You know as' well as I do. That kid’s a tele- 

They both looked down the beach at a small, 
skinny, busy silhouette. "I know how the hen felt 
that hatched the ducks,” said Phyllis softly. She 
got quickly to her feet. “I’m going in and get 
some salt on me, and let it dry. I’ve got to find out 
about this.” 

Hamilton Felix took his son into the city the 
next day. There were men attached to the Great 
Research who knew much more about such things 
than either he or Phyllis; he wished them to ex- 
amine the boy. He took Theobald to his office, 
supplied him with a scroll and a reader — a dodge 
which would tie him to one spot almost as effec- 
tively as if he were chained down— and called 
Jacobstein Ray by telephone. Jacobstein was in 
charge of a team investigating telepathy and re- 
lated phenomena. 

He explained to Jake that he was unable to leave 
his own office at the moment. Could Jake drop 
over, or was he tied up? Jake could and would; 
he arrived a few minutes later. The two men 
stepped into an adjoining room, out of earshot of 
the child. Felix explained what had taken place 
on the beach and suggested that Jake look into it. 

Jake was willing and interested. “But don’t ex- 
pect too much from it," he cautioned. "We’ve 
demonstrated telepathy in young children time and 
again, under circumstances which made it a statis- 
tical certainty that they were receiving informa- 
tion by no known physical means. But there was 
never any control in the business, the child was 
never able to explain what was going on, and the 
ability faded away to nothing as the child grew up 
and became more coherent. It seems to shrivel 
away just like the thymus gland.” 

Hamilton looked alert. “Thymus gland? Any 

“Why, no. I just used that as a figure of speech." 

“Mightn’t there be?” 



"It seems most unlikely.” 

“Everything about this business seems most un- 
likely. How about putting a crew on it? A good 
biostatistician and one of your operators?” 

“I will if you wish.” 

“Good. I’ll stat an open voucher to your office. 
It’s probably a blind alley, but you never know!” 

(Let us add hastily that it was a blind alley. 
Nothing ever came of it, but a slight addition to 
the enormous mass of negative information which 
the layman is usually not aware of, but which con- 
stitutes the main body of scientific knowledge. A 
rat finds its way out of a maze by eliminating blind 

Felix and Jake went back into the room where 
Theobald sat reading. They seated themselves 
first, in order to be on the same level as the child, 
and Felix performed the introduction with proper 
attention to the enormous and vulnerable dignity 
of a child. He then said: 

“Look, sport, dad wants you to go with Jake 
and help him with some things for an hour or so. 
How about it?” 


That was a tough one. With less-than-adult 
minds it had been found to be optimum procedure 
to keep them from knowing the purpose of the 
experimentation. “Jake wants to find out some 
things about the way your mind works. He’ll talk 
with you about it. Well — will you help him?” 

Theobald thought about it. 

“It will be a favor to dad.” Phyllis could have 
warned him against that approach. Theobald had 
been rather slow in reaching the degree of social 
integration necessary to appreciate the cool pleas- 
ure of conferring benefits on others. 

“Will you do me a favor?” he countered. 

“What do you want?” 

“A flop-eared buck.” The boy had been raising 
rabbits, with some adult assistance; but his grandi- 
ose plans, if unchecked, would have resulted in 
their entire home being given over to fat, furry 
rodents. Nevertheless, Hamilton was somewhat 
relieved to find the favor desired was no larger. 

“Sure thing, sport. You could have had one any- 

Theobald made no answer, but stood up, signify- 
ing his willingness to get on with it. 

After they had gone Hamilton considered the 
matter for a moment. A new buck rabbit was all 
right; he did not mind that as much as he would 
have minded a new doe. But something had to be 
done fairly soon, or else his garden would have to 
be abandoned. 

Theobald seemed to be working out, with the 
busy and whole-hearted collaboration of his rab- 
bits, an interesting but entirely erroneous neo- 
Mendelian concept of inherited characteristics. 
Why, he wanted to know, did white bunnies some- 

times have brown babies? Felix pointed out that 
a brown buck had figured in the matter, but soon 
bogged down, and turned the matter over to Mor- 
dan — accepting as inevitable the loss of face in- 

Theobald, he knew, was quite capable now of 
being interested in the get of a flop-eared buck. 

The boy had formulated an interesting, but de- 
cidedly specialized, arithmetic to keep his records 
of rabbits, based on the proposition that one plus 
one equals at least five. Hamilton had discovered 
it by finding symbols in the boy’s rabbit notebook 
with which he was unfamiliar. Theobald boredly 
interpreted them for him. 

Hamilton showed the records to Monroe-Alpha 
the next time Monroe-Alpha and Marion showed 
up at his home. He had regarded it as an amusing 
and insignificant joke, but Clifford took it with 
his usual dead seriousness. “Isn’t it about time 
you started him on arithmetic?” 

“Why, I don't think so. He is a little young for 
it — he’s hardly well into mathematical analysis.” 
Theobald had been led into mathematical sym- 
bology by the conventional route of generalized 
geometry, analysis, and the calculi. Naturally, he 
had not been confronted with the tedious, inane, 
and specialized mnemonics of practical arithmetic 
— he was hardly more than a baby. 

“I don’t think he is too young for it. I had de- 
vised a substitute for positional notation when I 
was about his age. I imagine he can take it, if you 
don't ask him to memorize operation tables.” Mon- 
roe-Alpha was unaware that the child had an 
eidetic memory and Hamilton passed the matter 
by. He had no intention of telling Monroe-Alpha 
anything about Theobald’s genetic background. 
While custom did not actually forbid such discus- 
sion, good taste, he felt, did. Let the boy alone — 
let him keep his private life private. He and 
Phyllis knew, the geneticists involved had to 
know, the Planners had had to know — since this 
was a star line. Even that he regretted, for it had 
brought such intrusions as the visit of that old hag 

Theobald himself would know nothing, or very 
little, of his ancestral background until he was a 
grown man. He might not inquire into it, or have 
it brought to his attention, until he reached some- 
thing around the age Felix had been when Mordan 
called Felix's attention to his own racial signifi- 

It was better so. The pattern of a man’s in- 
herited characteristics was racially important and 
inescapable anyhow, but too much knowledge of 
it, too much thinking about it, could be suffocat- 
ing to the individual. Look at Cliff — damned near 
went off the beam entirely just from thinking 
about his great grandparents. Well, Marion had 
fixed that. 


No, it was not good to talk too much about such 
things. He himself had talked too much a short 
time before, and had been sorry ever since. He 
had been telling Mordan his own point of view 
about Phyllis having any more children — after the 
baby girl to come, of course. Phyllis and he had 
not yet come to agreement about it; Mordan had 
backed up Phyllis. “I would like for you two to 
have at least four children, preferably six. More 
would be better, but we probably would not have 
time enough to select properly for that many.” 
Hamilton almost exploded. “It seems to me that 
you make plans awfully easy — for other people. 
I haven’t noticed you doing your bit. You are 
pretty much of a star line yourself — how come? 
Is this a one-way proposition?” 

Mordan had kept his serenity. “I have not re- 
frained. My plasm is on deposit, and available if 
wanted. Every moderator in the country saw my 
chart, in the usual course of routine." 

“The fact remains that you haven’t done much 
personally about children.” 

“No. No, that is true. Martha and I have so 
many, many children in our district, and so many 
yet to come, that we hardly have time to concen- 
trate on one." 

From the peculiar phraseology Hamilton gained 
a sudden bit of insight. “Say . . . you and Martha 
are married — aren’t you?” 

“Yes. For twenty-three years." 

“Well, then . . . but, why — ” 

“We can't,” Mordan said flatly, with just a shade 
less than his usual calm. “She’s a mutation . . . 

Hamilton's ears still burned to think that his 
big mouth had maneuvered his friend into making 
such a naked disclosure. He had never guessed 
the relationship; Martha never called Claude any- 
thing but “chief”; they used no words of endear- 
ment, nor let it creep otherwise into their manner. 
Still, it explained a lot of things — the rapportlike 
co-operation between the technician and the syn- 
thesist, the fact that Mordan had shifted to ge- 
netics after starting a brilliant career in social 
administration, Mordan’s intense and fatherly in- 
terest in his charges. 

He realized with a slight shock that Claude and 
Martha were as much parents of Theobald as were 
Phyllis and himself — foster parents, godparents. 
Mediator parents might be the right term. 

They were mediator parents to hundreds of 
thousands, he didn’t know how many. 

But this wasn’t getting his work done — and he 
would have to go home early today, because of 
Theobald. He turned to his desk. A memoran- 
dum caught his eye — from himself to himself. 
Hm-m-m — he would have to get after that. Better 
talk to Carruthers. He swung around toward the 


“Yes, Felix." 

“I was talking with Dr. Thorgsen the other day, 
and I got an idea — may not be much in it.” 

“Give." Way out on far Pluto, the weather is 
cold. The temperature rarely rises above eighteen 
centigrade degrees absolute even on the side to- 
ward the sun. And that refers to high noon in 
the open sunlight. Much of the machinery of the 
observatories is exposed to this intense cold. Ma- 
chinery that will work on Terra will not work on 
Pluto, and vice versa. The laws of physics seem 
to be invariable but the characteristics of mate- 
rials change with changes in temperature — con- 
sider ice and water, a mild example. 

Lubricating oil is a dry powder at such tempera- 
tures. Steel isn’t steel. The exploring scientists 
had to devise new technologies before Pluto could 
be conquered. 

Not only for mobiles but for stabiles as well — 
such as electrical equipment. Electrical equip- 
ment depends on, among other factors, the resist- 
ance characteristics of conductors; extreme cold 
lowers the electrical resistance of metals amaz- 
ingly. At thirteen degrees centigrade absolute 
lead becomes a superconductor — it has no resis- 
tance whatsoever. An electric current induced in 
such lead seems to go on forever, without damping. 

There are many other such peculiarities. Hamil- 
ton did not go into them — it was a sure thing that 
a brilliant synthesist such as his chief had all the 
gross factB about such matters. The main fact was 
this: Pluto was a natural laboratory for low-tem- 
perature research, not only for the benefit of the 
observatories but for every other purpose. 

One of the classic difficulties of science has to 
do with the fact that a research man can always 
think of things he wants to measure before instru- 
ments for the purpose have been devised. Genetics 
remained practically at a standstill for a century 
before ultramicroscopy reached the point where 
genes could really be seen. But the peculiar quali- 
ties of superconductors and near-superconductors 
gave physicists an opportunity, using such chilled 
metals in new instruments, to build gadgets which 
would detect phenomena more subtle than ever 
before detected. 

Thorgsen and his colleagues had stellar bo- 
lometers so accurate and so sensitive as to make 
the readings of earlier instruments look like a 
casual horseback guess. He claimed to be able to 
measure the heat from a flushed cheek at ten 
parsecs. The colony on Pluto even had an elec- 
tromagnetic radiation receiver which would — 
sometimes — enable them to receive messages from 
Terra, if the Great Egg smiled and everyone kept 
their fingers crossed. 

But telepathy, if it was anything physical at all 
—whatever “physical” may mean! — should be de- 
tectable by some sort of a gadget. That the gadget 



would need to be extremely sensitive seemed a 
foregone conclusion; therefore, Pluto seemed a 
likely place to develop one. 

There was even some hope to go on. An instru- 
ment — Hamilton did not remember what it had 
been — had been perfected there, had worked sat- 
isfactorily, and then had performed very errati- 
cally indeed — when the two who had perfected it 
attempted to demonstrate it in the presence of a 
crowd of colleagues. It seemed sensitive to living 

To living people. Equivalent masses, of blood 
temperature and similar radiating surfaces, did not 
upset it. But it grew querulous in the presence of 
human beings. It was dubbed a “Life Detector”; 
the director of the colony saw possibilities in it 
and instigated further research. 

Hamilton’s point to Carruthers was this: Might 
not the so-called life detector be something that 
was sensitive to whatever it was they called te- 
lepathy? Carruthers thought it possible. Would 
it not then be advisable to instigate research along 
that line on Terra? Decidedly. Or would it be 
better to send a team out to Pluto, where low tem- 
perature research was so much more handy? Go 
ahead on both lines, of course. 

Hamilton pointed out that it would be a year 
and a half until the next regular ship to Pluto. 
“Never mind that," Carruthers told him. "Plan 
to send a special. The Board will stand for it." 

Hamilton cleared the phone, turned it to record- 
ing, and spoke for several minutes, giving instruc- 
tions to two of his bright young assistants. It was 
convenient, he thought, to have really adequate 
staff assistance. He referred to his next point of 

In digging back into the literature of the race 
it had been noted that the borderline subjects of 
the human spirit with which he was now dealing 
had once occupied much more of the attention of 
the race than now was the case. Spiritism, appari- 
tions, reports of the dead appearing in dreams 
with messages which checked out, "Ghosties, and 
Ghoulies, and Things that go Flop in the Dark” 
had once obsessed the attention of many. Much 
of the mass of pseudo-data seemed to be psycho- 
pathic. But not all of it. This chap Flammarion, 
for example, a professional astronomer (or was he 
an astrologer? — there used to be such, he knew, be- 
fore space flight was developed) anyhow, a man 
with his head screwed on tight, a man with a basic 
appreciation for the scientific method even in those 
dark ages. Flammarion had collected an enormous 
amount of data, which, if even one percent of it 
was true, proved survival of the ego after physical 
death beyond any reasonable doubt. 

It gave him a lift just to read about it. 

Hamilton knew that the loose stories of bygone 
days did not constitute evidence of the first order, 




O On the City of Tulso, in mid-Pociflc waters, the 
heat of a midsummer day beat down unmercifully. 

Yot Johnny Littlejohn was hurling snowballs! 

It was the start of a weird puzile that landed Doc Sav- 
age and his aids on a South Sea atoll in the hands of 
modern pirates. It's one of his best: PIRATE ISLE, in 
the May issue of 





but some of it, after examination by psychiatric 
semanticians, could be used as evidence of the sec- 
ond order. In any case, the experience of the past 
might give many a valuable clue for further re- 
search. The hardest part of this aspect of the 
Great Research was to know where to start look- 

There were a couple of old books, for example, 
by a man named Doon, or Dunn, or something of 
the sort — the changes in speech symbols made the 
name uncertain — who had tediously collected rec- 
ords of forerunner dreams for more than a quar- 
ter of a century. But he had died, no one had 
followed up his work, and it had been forgotten. 
Never mind — Dunn's patience would be vindi- 
cated; over ten thousand careful men, in addition 
to their other activities, made a practice of record- 
ing their dreams immediately on wakening, be- 
fore speaking to anyone or even getting out of bed. 
If dreams ever opened a window into the future, 
the matter would soon be settled, conclusively. 

Hamilton himself tried to keep such records. 
Unfortunately, he rarely dreamed. No matter — 
others did, and he was in touch with them. 

The old books Hamilton wished to have perused 
were mostly obscure and few translations had ever 
been made; idiom presented a hazard. There were 
scholars of comparative lingo, of course, but even 
for them the job was difficult. Fortunately, there 
was immediately at hand a man who could read 
Anglish of the year 1926 and for at least the cen- 
tury preceding that date — a particularly rich cen- 
tury for such research, as the scientific method 
was beginning to be appreciated by some but the 
interest in such matters was still high. Smith 
John Darlington — or J. Darlington Smith, as he 
preferred to be called. Hamilton had co-opted 

Smith did not want to do it. He was very busy 
with his feetball industry; he had three associa- 
tions of ten battle groups each, and a fourth form- 
ing. His business was booming; he was in a fair 
way to becoming as rich as he wanted to be, and 
he disliked to spare the time. 

But he would do it — if the man who gave him 
his start in business insisted. Felix insisted. 

Felix telephoned him next. “Hello. Jack." 

“Howdy, Felix.” 

“Do you have any more for me?” 

“I’ve a stack of spools shoulder high." 

“Good. Tube them over, will you?” 

“Sure. Say, Felix, this stuff is awful, most of it." 

“I don’t doubt it. But think how much ore must 
be refined to produce a gram of native radium. 
Well, I’ll clear now.” 

“Wait a minute, Felix. I got into a jam last 
night. I wonder if you could give me some advice.” 

“Certainly. Give.” It appeared that Smith, who, 

in spite of his financial success, was a brassarded 
man and technically a control natural, had inad- 
vertently given offense to an armed citizen by 
refusing to give way automatically in a public 
place. The citizen had lectured Smith on eti- 
quette. Smith had never fully adjusted himself to 
the customs of a different culture; he had done a 
most inurbane thing — he had struck the citizen 
with his closed fist, knocking him down and 
bloodying his nose. 

Naturally, there was the deuce to pay, and all 
big bills. 

The citizen's next friend had called the follow- 
ing morning and presented Smith with a formal 
challenge. Smith must either accept and shoot it 
out, apologize acceptably, or perforce be evicted 
from the city bodily by the citizen and his friends, 
with monitors looking on to see that the customs 
were maintained. 

“What ought I to do?" 

“I would advise you to apologize." Hamilton 
saw no way out of it; to advise him to fight was 
to suggest suicide. Hamilton had no scruples 
about suicide, but he judged correctly that Smith 
preferred to live. 

“But I can’t apologize, Felix. I was ahead of 
him in line. Honest, I was.” 

“But you were brassarded.” 

"But — Look, Felix, I want to shoot it out with 
him. Will you act for me?” 

“I will if you request it. He’ll kill you, you 

“Maybe not. I might happen to beat him to the 

“Not in a set duel you won't. The guns are 
cross-connected. Your gun won’t burn until the 
referee flashes the signal." 

“I’m fairly fast.” 

“You’re outclassed. You don’t play feetball 
yourself, you know. And you know why.” 

Smith knew. He had planned to play, as well 
as manage and coach, when the enterprise was 
started. A few encounters with the men he had 
hired soon convinced him that an athlete of his 
own period was below average in this present pe- 
riod. In particular his reflexes were late. He bit 
his lip and said nothing. 

“You sit tight,” said Felix, “and don’t go out 
of your apartment. I’ll do a little calling and see 
what can be worked out.” 

The next friend was polite but regretful. Aw- 
fully sorry not to oblige Master Hamilton but he 
was acting under instructions. Could Master 
Hamilton speak with his principal? Now, really 
that was hardly procedure. But he admitted that 
the circumstances were unusual — give him a few 
minutes, then he would phone back. 

Hamilton received permission to speak to the 
principal; called him. No, the challenge could 



not be lifted — and the conversation was strictly 
under the rose. Procedure, you know. He was 
willing to accept a formal apology; he did not 
really wish to kill the man. 

Hamilton explained that Smith would not accept 
the humiliation — could not, because of his psycho- 
logical background. He was a barbarian and sim- 
ply could not see things from a gentleman’s point 
of view. Hamilton identified Smith as the Man 
from the Past. 

The principal nodded. “I know that now. Had 
I known that before, I would have ignored his 
rudeness — treated him like a child. But I didn't 
know. And now, in view of what he did — well, 
my dear sir, I can hardly ignore it, can I?" 

Hamilton conceded that he was entitled to satis- 
faction, but suggested that it would make him pub- 
licly unpopular to kill Smith. “He is rather a pub- 
lic darling, you know. I am inclined to think that 
many will regard it as murder to force him to 

The citizen had thought of that. Rather a di- 
lemma, wasn’t it? 

"How would you like to combat him physically 
— punish him the way he damaged you, only more 

"Really, my dear sir!" 

“Just an idea,” said Hamilton. “You might 
think about it. May we have three days' grace?" 

"More, if you like. I told you I was not anxious 
to push it to a duel. I simply want to curb his 
manners. One might run into him anywhere.” 

Hamilton let it go at that, and called Mordan, 
a common thing when he was puzzled. “What do 
you think I ought to do, Claude?” 

“Well, there is no real reason why you should 
not let him go ahead and get himself killed. In- 
dividually, it's his life; socially, he's no loss." 

“You forget that I am using him as a translator. 
Besides, I rather like him. He is pathetically gal- 
lant in the face of a world he does not understand.” 

"Mm-m-m — well, in that case, we’ll try to find 
a solution.” 

"Do you know, Claude,” Felix said seriously, “I 
am beginning to have my doubts about this whole 
custom. Maybe I’m getting old, but, while it’s lots 
of fun for a bachelor to go swaggering around 
town, it looks a little different to me now. I’ve 
even thought of assuming the brassard.” 

“Oh, no, Felix, you mustn’t do that!” 

"Why not? A lot of people do.” 

“It’s not for you. The brassard is an admission 
of defeat, an acknowledgment of inferiority.” 

“What of it? I’d still be myself. I don’t care 
what people think." 

“You’re mistaken, son. To believe that you can 
live free of your cultural matrix is one of the 
easiest fallacies to fall into, and has some of the 

worst consequences. You are a part of your group 
whether you like it or not, and you are bound by 
its customs.” 

“But they’re only customs!" 

"Don’t belittle customs. It is easier to change 
Mendelian characteristics than it is to change cus- 
toms. If you try to ignore them, they bind you 
when you least expect it.” 

“But dammit ! how can there be any progress if 
we don’t break customs?" 

"Don’t break them — avoid them. Take them into 
your considerations, examine how they work, and 
make them serve you. You don’t need to disarm 
yourself to stay out of fights. If you did you 
would get into fights — I know you! — the way 
Smith did. An armed man need not fight. I 
haven't drawn my gun for more years than I can 

“Come to think about it, I haven’t pulled mine 
in four years or more.” 

“That’s the idea. But don't assume that the cus- 
tom of going armed is useless. Customs always 
have a reason behind them, sometimes good, some- 
times bad. This is a good one." 

“Why do you say that? I used to think so, but 
I have my doubts now." 

“Well, in the first place an armed society is a 
polite society. Manners are good when one may 
have to back up his acts with his life. For me, po- 
liteness is a sine qua non of civilization. That's 
a personal evaluation only. But gun fighting has 
a strong biological use. We do not have enough 
things that kill off the weak and the stupid these 
days. But to stay alive as an armed citizen a man 
has to be either quick \yith his wits or with his 
hands, preferably both. It's a good thing. 

"Of course," he continued, "our combativeness 
has to do with our ancestry and our history.” Ham- 
ilton nodded; he knew that Mordan referred to the 
Second Genetic War. “But we have preserved 
that inheritance intentionally. The Planners 
would not stop the wearing of arms if they could.” 

“Maybe so,” Felix answered slowly, “but it does 
seem like there ought to be a better way to do it. 
This way is pretty sloppy. Sometimes the by- 
standers get burned." 

"The alert ones don’t," Mordan pointed out. 
“But don’t expect human institutions to be effi- 
cient. They never have been; it is a mistake to 
think that they can be made so— in this millen- 
nium or the next." 

“Why not?” 

“Because we are sloppy, individually — and 
therefore collectively. Take a look at a cageful of 
monkeys, at your next opportunity. Watch how 
they do things and listen to them chatter. You’ll 
find it quite instructive. You’ll understand hu- 
mans better.” 

Felix grinned. "I think I see what you mean. 



But what am I to do about Smith?” 

“if he gets out of this, I think he had better 
wear a gun after this. Perhaps you can impress 
on him then that his life will depend on the soft- 
ness of his words. But for the present — I know 
this chap he challenged. Suppose you suggest me 
as referee." 

‘‘Are you going to let them fight?" 

“In my own way. I think I can arrange for them 
to fight barehanded." Mordan had delved back 
into his encyclopedic memory and had come out 
with a fact that Hamilton would not fully appre- 
ciate. Smith had come from a decadent period in 
which hand fighting had become stylized as fist 
fighting. No doubt he was adept in it. It was nec- 
essary for one not to use the gun with which he 
was adept; it was equitable that the other not use 
fists, were he adept in their use. So Mordan 
wished to referee that he might define the rules. 

It is not necessary to give overmuch attention 
to that rather unimportant and uncolorful little 
man. J. Darlington Smith. Hamilton was forced 
to withdraw as next friend, since Carruthers 
needed him at the time, and did not, therefore, 
see the encounter. He learned of it first by dis- 
covering that Smith was immobilized in an infir- 
mary, suffering from some rather unusual wounds. 
But he did not quite lose the sight of his left eye 
and his other damages were mostly gone in a cou- 
ple of weeks. 

All of which happened some days later. 

Hamilton turned back to his work. There were 
various little matters to attend to. One team of 
researchers in particular belonged to him alone. 
He had noticed when he was a boy that a physical 
object, especially a metallic one, brought near to 
his forehead above the bridge of the nose seemed 
to produce some sort of a response inside the head, 
not connected, apparently, with the physiological 
senses. He had not thought of it for many years, 
until the Great Research had caused him to think 
of such things. 

Was it real, or was it imagination? It was a 
mere tightening of the nerves, an uneasy feeling, 
but distinct and different from any other sensa- 
tion. Did other people have it? What caused it? 
Did it mean anything? 

He mentioned it to Carruthers who had said, 
“Well, don't stand there speculating about it. Put 
a crew to work on it.” 

He had. They had already discovered that the 
feeling was not uncommon but rarely talked about. 
It was such a little thing and hard to define. Sub- 
jects had been found who had it in a more marked 
degree than most — Hamilton ceased being a sub- 
ject for experimentation himself. 

He called the crew leader. "Anything new, 

“Yes and no. We have found a chap who can 
distinguish between different metals nearly eighty 
percent of the time, and between wood and metal 
every time. But we are still no nearer finding out 
what makes it tick.” 

“Need anything?" 


“Call me if you need me. Helpful Felix the 
Cheerful Cherub." 

“O. K.” 

It must not be supposed that Hamilton Felix 
was very important to the Great Research. He was 
not the only idea man that Carruthers had, not by 
several offices. It is probable that the Great Re- 
search would have gone on in much the same 
fashion, even during his lifetime, even if he had 
not been co-opted. But it would not have gone in 
quite the same way. 

But it is hard to evaluate the relative impor- 
tance of individuals. Who was the more impor- 
tant? — the First Tyrant of Madagascar, or the 
nameless peasant who assassinated him? Felix’s 
work had some effect. So did that of each of the 
eighty-thousand-odd other individuals who took 
part at one time or another in the Great Research. 

Jacobstein Ray called back before he could turn 
his mind to other matters. “Felix? You can come 
over and take your young hopeful away, if you 

“Fine. What sort of results?" 

"Maddening. He started out with seven correct 
answers in a row, then he blew up completely. Re- 
sults no better than random — until he stopped an- 
swering at all." 1 

“Oh, he did. did he?” remarked Hamilton, think- 
ing of a certain flop-eared buck. 

“Yes indeed. Went limp on us. I'd as leave try 
to stuff a snake down a hole.” 

“Well, we'll try another day. Meanwhile I'll at- 
tend to him." 

“I’d enjoy helping you,” Jake said wistfully. 
Theobald was just sitting, doing less than noth- 
ing, when Felix came in. “Hello, sport. Ready to 
go home?" 


Felix waited until they were in the family car 
and the pilot set on home before bracing him. “Ray 
tells me you didn’t help him very well.” 

Theobald twisted a string round his finger. He 
concentrated on it. 

"Well, how about it? Did you, or didn’t you?” 
“He wanted me to play some stupid games," the 
child stated. “No sense to them.” 

“So you quit?” 


“I thought you told me you would help?” 

“I didn’t say I would.” 

Felix thought back. The child was probably 


right — he could not remember. But he had had a 
feeling of contract, the “meeting of minds.” 

“Seems to me there was a mention of a flop-eared 

“But,” Theobald pointed out, “you said I could 
have it anyhow. You told me so!" 

The rest of the trip home was mostly silence. 


Madame Espartero Carvala called again, unex- 
pectedly and with no ceremony. She simply called 
by telephone and announced she was coming to see 
them. She had informed Phyllis on the previous 
occasion that she expected to come back to see the 
baby. But more than four years had passed with 
no word from her; Phyllis had given up expecting 
her. After all, one does not thrust oneself on a 
member of the cosmically remote Policy Board! 

They had seen references to her in the news: 
Madame Espartero reconfirmed without opposi- 
tion. Madame Espartero offers her resignation. 
The Grand Old Lady of the Board in failing 
health. Madame Espartero's alternate selected by 
special election. Carvala rallies in her fight for 
life. Planners honor sixtieth year of Service of 
the Oldest Member. Stereostories and news bits 
— she had become an institution. 

Felix had thought when he saw her last that 
she looked older than any human being could. He 
realized when he saw her this time that he had 
been mistaken. She was still more incredibly frail 
and shrunken and she seemed to move with great 
effort. She compressed her lips tightly with each 

But her eye was still bright, her voice was still 
firm. She dominated her surroundings. 

Phyllis came forward. “We are delighted. I 
never expected to see you again.” 

“I told you I was coming back to see the boy.” 

“Yes, I remember, but it has been a long time 
and you did not come.” 

“No sense in looking a child over until he has 
shaped up and can speak for himself! Where is 
he? Fetch him in.” 

"Felix, will you find him?” 

“Certainly, my dear.” Felix departed, wonder- 
ing how it was that he, a grown man and in full 
possession of his powers, could permit a little old 
woman, ripe for cremation, to get him so on edge. 
It was childish of him! 

Theobald did not want to leave his rabbits. “I’m 

Felix considered the plan of returning to the 
lounge and announcing that Theobald would re- 
ceive Madame Espartero, if at all, at the rabbit 
run. But he decided that he could not do such a 
thing to Phyllis. “Look, son, there is a lady in 
there who wants to see you." 

No answer. 


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“Make up your mind,” Felix announced cheer- 
fully. “Will you walk, or do you prefer to be 
dragged? It makes no difference to me.” 
Theobald looked slowly up his father’s sheer 
two meters and, without further comment, started 
for the house. 

“Madame Espartero, this is Theobald.” 

“So I see. Come to me, Theobald.” Theobald 
stood fast. 

“Go to her, Theobald," Phyllis spoke briskly. 
The boy complied at once. 

Felix wondered why it was that the child obeyed 
his mother so much more readily than his father. 
Damn it, he was good to the child and just with 
him. There must have been a thousand times when 
he had refrained from losing his temper with him. 

Madame Carvala spoke to him in a low voice, 
too low for either Felix or Phyllis to catch. He 
glowered and tried to look away, but she insisted, 
caught his eye, and held it. She spoke again, and 
he answered, in the same low tones. They talked 
together for some minutes, quite earnestly. Fi- 
nally she straightened up in her chair and said in 
a louder tone: “Thank you, Theobald. You may 
go now.” 

He fled out of the house. Felix looked longingly 
after him, but decided he had to stay. He selected 
a chair as far across the room as manners per- 
mitted, and waited. 

Carvala selected another cigar, puffed until she 
was the center of a cloud of blue smoke, and turned 
her attention exclusively to Phyllis. “He's a sound 
child,” she announced. “Sound. He’ll do well.” 
“I’m happy that you think so.” 

“I don’t think so, I know so.” They talked for a 
while longer about the boy, small talk. Felix had 
a feeling that the old woman was improvising until 
she was ready with whatever was on her mind. 
“When do you expect to have his sister?” 

“I am ready any time," replied Phyllis. “I have 
been for months. They are selecting for her now.” 
“What are they selecting for? Anything differ- 
ent from the boy?” 

“Not in any major respect — except one. Of 
course there will be plenty of variation from what 
Theobald is, because in so many, many of the alter- 
natives no attempt will be made to make a choice.” 
“What is the one major respect you spoke of?" 
Phyllis told her of it. Since the coming child 
was to be a girl, its chromosome pattern would 
contain two X-chromosomes, one from each of its 
parents. Now philoprogenitiveness is, of course, 
a sex-linked characteristic. Hamilton, be it re- 
membered, lacked it to a moderate degree. Theo- 
bald derived his one X-chromosome from his 
mother; Mordan confidently expected that he 
would be normal in his desire to have children of 
his own when he became old enough for such 
things to matter to him. 

But his projected little sister would inherit from 
both her parents in this respect. She might be 
rather cool to the matter of having children. How- 
ever, if she did have any, then her offspring need 
not be handicapped by any lack in this highly de- 
sirable survival trait; since she would pass on to 
her heirs but one of her two X-chromosomes, by 
selection, she could transmit only that of her 
mother. Hamilton’s undesirable trait would be 
eliminated forever. 

Carvala listened carefully to this explanation — 
or rather to that small portion of it Phyllis had 
found it necessary to relate — and nodded cheer- 
fully. “Put your mind at rest, child. It won’t mat- 
ter a bit.” She offered no elaboration of her words. 

She talked of other matters for a while, then said 
suddenly, “Any time now, I take it?” 

“Yes,” Phyllis agreed. 

Carvala stood up and took her departure as sud- 
denly as she came. “I hope we will have the honor 
of your presence again, madame," Felix said care- 

She stopped, turned, and looked at him. She 
took her cigar from her mouth and grinned. “Oh, 
I'll be back! You can count on that.” 

Felix stood scowling at the door through which 
she had left. Phyllis sighed happily. “She makes 
me feel good, Felix.” 

“She doesn't me. She looks like a corpse.” 

"Now, Filthy!” 

Felix went outside and looked up his son. "Hi, 


“What did she have to say to you?" 

Theobald muttered something of which Felix 
caught only the term “cuss-boss!" 

"Take it easy, son. What did She want?" 

“She wanted me to promise her something." 

"And did you?" 


“What was it?" 

But Theobald wasn't listening again. 

After a late and pleasant supper in the cool of 
the garden Felix turned on the news, rather idly. 
He listened lackadaisically for a while, then sud- 
denly called out, “Phyllis!” 

“What is it?” 

“Come here! Right away!” 

She ran in; he indicated the spieling, flickering 

“ — dame Espartero Carvala. She appears to have 
died instantly. It is assumed that she stumbled 
near the top of the escalator, for she seemed to 
have fallen, or rolled, the entire flight. She will 
long be remembered, not only for her lengthy ten- 
ure on the Board, but for her pioneer work in — ” 
Phyllis had switched it off. Felix saw that she 
had tears in her eyes, and refrained from the re- 
mark that he had intended to make, something 



about her cockiness in saying that she would be 
6ure to be back. 

Hamilton did not think it advisable to take 
Theobald back to Jacobstein Ray again; he felt 
that an antipathy had already grown up. But 
there were others engaged in telepathy research; 
he selected a crew and introduced Theobald to 
them. But he had formed a theory about the for- 
mer failure; the methods used then had been the 
simple methods considered appropriate for young 
children. This time they told Theobald what they 
were attempting to do and started him out with 
tests intended for adults. 

He could do it. It was as simple as that. There 
had been other cases equally clear cut, and the re- 
search leader cautioned Felix not to expect too 
much, as telepathically sensitive children tended 
to fade out in the talent — which Felix knew. But 
he could do it. Theobald, at least within the limits 
of the conditions, could read minds. 

So Felix called Mordan again, told him again of 
what was on his mind. Did Mordan think that 
Theobald was a mutation? 

"Mutation? No, I have no data to go on.” 

“Why not?” 

" 'Mutation' is a technical term. It refers only 
to a new characteristic which can be inherited by 
Mendelian rules. I don’t know what this is. Sup- 
pose you find out for me first what telepathy is — 
then I’ll tell you whether or not Theobald can 
pass it on — say, about thirty years from now!” 

Well, that could wait. It sufficed that Theobald 
was telepathic — at least for the present. The pro- 
jected telepath gadget, which had derived from 
the Plutonian “Life Detector," was beginning to 
show promise. It had been duplicated in the 
auxiliary cold laboratory underneath the outskirts 
of Buenos Aires and had performed in the same 
fashion as on Pluto. It had been considerably re- 
fined, once the researchers knew the direction in 
which they were driving, but it had presented 
grave difficulties. 

One of the difficulties had been straightened out 
in a somewhat odd fashion. The machine, while 
responsive to sentient beings (it would not re- 
spond to plants, nor to animal life of low form), 
did little else — it was not a true telepath. There 
was a cat, of doubtful origin, which had made it- 
self the lab mascot — moved in and taken posses- 
sion. While the gadget was sensitized the oper- 
ator had stepped back without looking and stepped 
on pussy’s tail. Pussy did not like it and said so. 

But the technician acting as receiver had liked 
it even less; he had snatched off the headset, yelp- 
ing. It had screamed at him, he alleged. 

Further experimentation made it evident that 
the machine was especially sensitive to the tha- 
lamicstorm aroused by any sudden violent emotion. 
Mere cool cerebration had much less effect on it. 

However, banging a man on the thumb did not 
count. The man expected it, and delayed his re- 
action, routing it through the "cooler” of the fore- 
brain. The emotion had to be strong and authentic. 

Many tails were stepped on thereafter; many 
cats sacrificed their temporary peace of mind to 
the cause of science. 

Theobald developed a strange antipathy for his 
mother’s company during the period when she was 
expecting the arrival of his sister. It upset 
PhylliB; Felix tried to reason him out of it. “See 
here, sport,” he said, “Hasn't mamma been good to 

“Yeah. Sure.” 

“Then what’s the trouble? Why don't you like 

“I like her all right — but I don't like her.” His 
meaning was unmistakable. Felix held a hur- 
ried whispered consultation with his wife. “How 
about it, Phil? I thought we hadn’t let him in on 
the news yet?” 

“I haven’t.” 

“I didn’t — that’s sure. Do you suppose Claude 
— no, Claude wouldn’t spill it. Hm-m-m . . . well, 
there's only one other way he could have found 
out — he found out for himself.” He looked at his 
son with a deeply wrinkled brow; it might not be 
too convenient, he was thinking, to have a tele- 
pathic member of the household. Well, it might 
wear off — it frequently did. 

“We'll have to play it as it lies. Theobald.” 

“What’cha want?” 

"Is it your little sister whom you don’t like?” 

The boy scowled and indicated assent. 

(“It’s probably nothing but natural jealousy. 
After all. he's been the big show around here all 
his life.”) He turned again to his son. "Look 
here, sport — you don't think that little sister will 
make any difference in how mamma and daddy feel 
about you. do you?" 

“No. I guess not." 

"A little sister will be a lot of fun for you. 
You’ll be bigger than she will be, and you'll know 
a lot more, and you’ll be able to show her things. 
You’ll be the important one." 

No answer. 

“Don’t you want a baby sister?” 

“Not that one.” 

"Why not?” 

He turned completely away. They heard him 
mutter, “Old cuss-boss!" Then he added distinctly, 
“and her cigars stink.” 

The threesome was adjourned. Phyllis and 
Felix waited until the boy was asleep and, pre- 
sumably, with his telepathic ability out of gear. 
“It seems pretty evident," he told her, “that he has 
identified Carvala in his mind with Justina.” 

She agreed. "At least I’m relieved to know that 



it isn’t me he has a down on. Just the same, it’s 
serious. I think we had better call in a psychia- 

Felix concurred. "But I’m going to talk to 
Claude about it, too.” 

Claude refused to be upset by it. “After all,” 
he said, “it’s perfectly natural that blood relatives 
should dislike each other. That’s a prime datum 
of psychology. If you can’t condition him to put 
up with her, then you’ll have to rear them apart. 
A nuisance, but that’s all.” 

"But how about this fixation of his?" 

“I’m not a psychiatrist. I wouldn’t worry too 
much about it. Children frequently get some 
funny notions. If you ignore them, they generally 
get over them.” 

So the psychiatrist thought, too. But he was 
totally unable to shake Theobald’s conviction in 
the matter. He had made his point, he stuck to 
it, and he refused to argue. 

It was a matter of prime significance, quite aside 
from Theobald's fantastic delusion, that a tele- 
pathic person had been able to locate a person 
whom he had never seen and whose existence he 
had no reason to suspect. It was a fair-sized brick 
in the Great Research. Dutifully, Hamilton re- 
ported the affair to Carruthers. 

Carruthers was intensely interested. He asked 
questions about it, took the matter home with him, 
and nursed it. The next day he called in Felix, 
and explained to him a plan he had conceived. 
"Mind you," he said, "I'm not urging you to do 
this. I’m not even asking you. It’s your wife, and 
your baby, and your boy. But I think it’s a unique 
opportunity to advance the Research." 

Felix thought about it. "I’ll let you know to- 

"How would you like,” he said to Phyllis, when 
they were alone that night, “to go to Buenos Aires 
to have Justina?" 

“Buenos Aires? Why there?” 

“Because there is the only telepath machine on 
Earth. And it can’t be moved out of the cold 


“I’ve got it again." The receiver for the telepath 
made the announcement grimly. The gadget was 
still cantankerous ; during the past few days it had 
worked beautifuly part of the time — about twenty 
minutes in all! — and had refused to come to life 
the rest of the time. It seemed to have soaked 
up some of the contrariness of the subtle life-force 
it tapped. 

“What are you getting?” 

“Feels like a dream. Water, long stretches of 
water. Shore line in the back with mountain 

peaks.” A recorder at his elbow took down every- 
thing he said, with the exact times. 

“Are you sure it’s the baby?” 

“Sure as I was yesterday. Everybody is dif- 
ferent over it. They taste different. I don’t know 
how else to express it. Hold on! Something else 
— a city, a damn big city, bigger than Buenos 

“Theobald." said Mordan Claude gently, “can 
you still hear her?” Mordan had been brought 
because Felix conceded that Claude had a handier 
way with the child than Felix. The child could 
not hear the telepath receiver where they had 
spotted him, although Claude could cut in through 
an earphone. Phyllis, of course, was in another 
room — it made no difference to the gadget, nor to 
Theobald. Felix had a roving assignment, privi- 
leged to make a nervous nuisance out of himself 
to anyone. 

The boy leaned back against Mordan’s thigh. 
“She’s not over the ocean any more," he said. 
"She's gone to Capital City." 

“Are you sure it's Capital City?" 

“Sure.” His voice was scornful. “I been there, 
ain’t I? And there's the tower.” 

Beyond the partition, someone was asking, "A 
modern city?” 

"Yes. Might be the Capital. It’s got a pylon 
like it." 

"Any other details?” 

“Don’t ask me so many questions — it breaks into 
the reverie . . . she’s moving again. We’re in a 
room ... lot of people, all adults. They’re talking." 

“What now, son?” Claude was saying. 

“Aw, she’s gone to that party again.” 

Two observers, standing clear of the activity, 
were whispering. "I don’t like it," the short one 
said. "It’s ghastly." 

“But it's happening." 

“But don’t you realize what this means, Mal- 
colm? Where can an unborn child get such con- 

"Telepathically from its mother, perhaps. The 
brother is certainly a telepath.” 

“No, no, no I Not unless all our conceptions of 
cerebration are mistaken. Conceptions are limited 
to experiences, or things similar to experiences. 
An unborn child has experienced nothing but 
warmth and darkness. It couldn’t have such con- 


"Well — answer me I” 

"You’ve got me — I can’t." 

Someone was saying to the receiver, “Can you 
make out any of the people present?” 

He raised his headset. “Quit bothering me! You 
drive it out with my own thoughts when you do 
that. No, I can’t. It’s like dream images ... I 
think it is a dream. I can’t feel anything unless 
she thinks about it.” 



A little later. “Something’s happened . . . the 
dream’s gone. Uneasy . . . it’s very unpleasant 
. . . she’s repeating it . . . it’s . . . it’s — Oh, Great — 
It’s awful ... it hurts! I can't stand it!” He tore 
off his headset, and stood up, white and si sing. 
At the same instant Theobald screamed. 

It was a matter of minutes only when a woman 
came out the door of the room where Phyllis was 
and motioned to Hamilton. 

“You can come in now,” she said cheerfully. 

Felix got up from where he had been kneeling 
with Theobald. “Stay with Uncle Claude, sport,” 
he said, and went in to his wife. 


It was nice to be able to come to the beach again. 
It was swell that Phyllis felt up to such little 
expeditions. It was pleasant to lie in the sun 
with his family all around him and soak up com- 

Things had not turned out the way he had 
planned, but things rarely did. Certainly he would 
never have believed all this a few years back — 
Phyllis and Baldy, and now Justina. Once he had 
asked Claude to tell him the meaning of life — 
now he did not care. Life was good, whatever it 
was. And the prime question had been answered, 
for him. Let the psychologicians argue it all they 
pleased — there was a life, some kind of life, after 
this one. Where a man might find out the full 
answer — maybe. 

For the main question: "Do we get another 

chance?” had been answered — by the back door. 
There was something more to the ego of a new 
born child than its gene pattern. Justina had an- 
swered that, whether she knew it or not. She had 
brought memory patterns with her; she had lived 
before. He was convinced of that. Therefore, it 
was a dead sure cinch that the ego went somewhere 
after the body disintegrated. Where, he would 
worry about when the time came. 

It did seem extremely likely that Justina did 
not know what she had proved — and, of course, 
there was no way of asking her. Her telepathic 


patterns after she was born were meaningless, 
confused, as one would expect of a baby. Shock 
amnesia the psychologicians had decided to call it. 
Good a name as any. Being born must be some- 
thing like being awakened out of a sound, dreamy 
sleep by a dash of cold water in the face. That 
would shock anybody. 

He had not made up his mind yet whether he 
wanted to continue active in the Great Research, 
or not. He might just be lazy and raise dahlia 
bulbs and kids. He didn’t know. Most of it was 
pretty long-distance stuff, and he personally was 
satisfied. Take that work that Cliff was on — cen- 
turies and then some. Cliff had compared the job 
to trying to figure out the entire plot of a long 
stereostory from just one flash frame. 

But they would finish — some day. Theobald 
wouldn’t see it, but he would see more of it than 
Felix, and his son would see still more. His sons 
would roam the stars — no limit. 

It was nice that Theobald seemed to have gotten 
over that ridiculous fixation identifying Justina 
with old Carvala. True, he did not seem actually 
fond of the baby, but that would be expecting a lot. 
He seemed more puzzled by her, and interested. 

There he was now, leaning over the baby’s bas- 
ket. He really did seem — 

"Theobald !” 

The boy stood up straight quickly. 

“What were you doing?” 

“Nothing.” Maybe so — but it looked very much 
as if he had pinched her. 

“Well, I think you had better find another place 
to do it. The baby needs to sleep now.” 

The boy shot a quick glance at the infant and 
turned away. He walked slowly down toward 
the water. 

Felix settled back, after glancing over at Phyllis. 
Yes, she was still asleep. It was a good world, he 
assured himself again, filled with interesting 
things. Of which the most interesting were chil- 
dren. He glanced down at Theobald. That boy 
was a lot of fun now, and would be more interest- 
ing as he grew up — if he could refrain from wring- 
ing his cussed little neck in the meantime! 



By Willy Ley 

• There's an item a lot of people "know" that ain't 
so: the ancient Greeks were not color-blind to blue. 

But how'd the idea that they were ever get started? 

Illustrated by Kramer 

It is anything but an exaggeration to state that 
misconceptions, once formed, display a “survival 
value” which puts even the proverbial — albeit un- 
scientific — nine-lived cat to shame. There is noth- 
ing on Earth that is as persistent and as insidious, 
as penetrating and as permanent as a nice, juicy 
and impressive blunder. 

Twenty times at least it has been proved that 
young George Washington did not chop down a 
cherry tree ; thirty times it has been asserted that 
Beethoven did not say “fate knocks at the door” 
in reference to the first four notes of his Fifth 

Symphony. Yet, when you open your newspaper 
tomorrow morning or your weekly five-cent maga- 
zine, you’ll find — not the denials, but a reference 
to the original story. Cinderella did not wear 
glass slippers, but ermine slippers — that story re- 
sulted from a mix-up of the two French terms 
pantouBes de vair and pantouBes de verre — but try 
and abolish the mistaken translation. 

It seems that a misconception, resulting origi- 
nally from a faulty observation or at least a faulty 
interpretation of a correct observation, achieves 
permanency as soon as it finds its way into print. 



Once printed it stays printed. Of course, the cor- 
rections and denials find their way into print, too, 
but, somehow, it always happens that the original 
blunder finds its public, while the denials and cor- 
rections fail to do so. Sometime later somebody 
digs up the original story and, being ignorant of 
the corrections made in the meantime, re-reveals 
it as forgotten knowledge. It works somewhat 
like those alleged medieval curses that lie dormant 
in forbidden books. As long as the book stays 
locked up everything is all right, but when it is 
read the curse takes possession of the reader and 
he is bound to pass it on to the next victim. 

This is especially true of one misconception 
which is more widely known and more widely 
believed than many other correct and, incidentally, 
much more useful bits of information. 

I am speaking of the assertion that the ancient 
Greeks were not able to see the color “blue,” as 
evidenced by the Homeric epics. Why this item 
of knowledge should find such an extended audi- 
ence is more than slightly mysterious, but it hap- 
pens to be the case. You can find it stated in 
well-meant serious books and it crops up, too, in 
novels — historic and otherwise — and short stories. 
Even one of the newspaper correspondents who 
reported on the war in Greece made passing 
mention of that “fact" in saying that the modern 
Greeks did see the blue of the Mediterranean Sea. 
One could feel him quiver with pride about the 
extensiveness of his knowledge. 

I could simply state that the notion of the 
blue blindness of the ancient Greeks was disproved 
many years ago and that, according to modern 
knowledge, the Greeks of the heroic period could 
see blue as well as any man of today. But I think 
it advisable to relate the whole story in some de- 
tail, partly to prove the statement itself, partly 
because the development of that notion is a good 
example of how a misconception originates, how 
it takes root and grows into an independent life 
of its own. 

It all began in 1858 when W. E. Gladstone pub- 
lished the third volume of bis “Studies on Homer 
and the Homeric Age." This book contains a 
chapter on Homer’s use of words denoting colors. 
Gladstone was greatly surprised about “the slight 
use of color, as compared with other elements of 
beauty" and he concluded that Ilias and Odyssey 
both exhibited “a vast predominance of the most 
crude and elemental forms of color, black and 
white, over every other, and the decided tendency 
to treat other colors as simply intermediate modes 
between these extremes." 

In this chapter Gladstone emphasized that blue 
fares worst of all colors in Homer, that the sky 
and the sea are never called blue and that a word, 
“kyanos " — which was customarily translated as 

AST— 7E 

"blue” and which did mean blue in later Greek 
writing — was often used in places where it could 
not possibly mean blue. Nineteen years later, in 
1877, Gladstone published an article “The Colour 
Sense" in the magazine The Nineteenth Century 
in which he took an even stronger point of view, 
holding that Homer and his contemporaries did 
not see any colors at all, but just shades between 
white and black, in about the manner of a photo- 
graphic emulsion. 

During the interval between these two works 
two German scientists had joined hands with Glad- 
stone. One of them, Lazarus Geiger, wrote a book 
called “The Evolution of Mankind" (1871) wherein 
he not only supported Gladstone with reference to 
Homer and to the ancient Greeks in general, but 
in which he also asserted that the other ancient 
civilizations had suffered from the same shortcom- 
ing. The books of the Vedas, the A vesta, even the 
Bible do not mention blue. It cannot be found in 
the Bible, either, although there would be ample 
opportunity for it, because the Bible mentions the 
sky — this is Geiger’s count — not less than two 
hundred and fifty times. Even the Koran, which 
was written much later, does not contain the word 

After this, an expert in another field, Dr. Hugo 
Magnus, professor of ophthalmology at the Uni- 
versity of Breslau, after consulting with his father 
— who was professor of Oriental languages at the 
same university — decided to draw some conclu- 
sions from these finds. He published a book, “Die 
Geschichtliche Entwicklung des Farbensinnes” 
("The Historic Development of the Color Sense") 
in which he surveyed the material collected by 
Gladstone and by Geiger. Based on the evident 
complete or partial color blindness of the peoples 
living prior to 1000 B. C., Magnus evolved the 
theory that the color sense represents a very re- 
cent step in the evolutionary process. The 
acquisition of the color sense could even be dated ; 
among the Greeks it took place during the interval 
between Homer and Plato, among the Romans 
slightly later and last among the Semitic tribes, 
as proved by even the latest books of the Bible 
and the still later Koran. 

Cases of color blindness in our time had, there- 
fore, to be taken as atavisms and Dr. Magnus 
prophesied that people a thousand years hence 
would be able to see and to distinguish new colors 
in the ultraviolet, still invisible in 1900 A. D. 

It sounded very convincing. We have to re- 
member that it was the general and accepted belief 
at that time — which, as we know now, hardly holds 
true — that aborigines cannot tell good paintings 
from bad, that their musical taste is worthless and 
that their evaluation of smells is simply atrocious. 
Even modern man is not born with an aversion 
against bad smells, or harsh color combinations or 



“hot" music. He has to attain these faculties by 
developing his sense of discrimination. And we 
all know that some — including orchestra leaders 
and painters — never do. 

The investigations of the Gladstone-Geiger- 
Magnus group seemed to offer an explanation for 
all this, at least as far as the sense of vision was 
concerned. If the various white nations had 
acquired their color sense at about the time of 
Christ and not earlier, it was not at all surprising 
that the aborigines had not progressed that far 
even in the Nineteenth Century. 

Somebody found out that a very early author, 
Pliny the Elder, had actually told the story. Some- 
where he had said that at first paintings were 
executed with red pigments only, then with red 
and yellow, that black and white were added later 
and finally the full range of the colors of the rain- 
bow. As for the rainbow itself it offered addi- 
tional proof. Xenophanes had said that it was 
purple, red and yellowish-green. Aristotle had 
called it red, green and blue with a narrow yellow- 
ish band between red and green. And the Edda 
had spoken about “three-colored rainbow bridge.” 

Further proof could be found in the etymology 
of the word “blue" itself. In Italian it is biavo, 
in French bleu, in German blau, all these words 
going back to the Old Norse bla, which, however, 
is also the root of “black." This closed the circle, 
n Norse term which meant blue as well as black — 
and all Romanic languages were forced to borrow 
it because they had none of their own. Evidently 
the Norse had learned to see blue earlier, naming 
it with a modification of their word for black 
when it emerged from the darkness of the in- 

It all seemed to fit into the evolutionary scheme 
that Magnus sketched out. The two “warm" col- 
ors, red and yellow, he said, were seen first, only 
much later did the eye learn to discern the shorter 
wave lengths which originally had failed to regis- 
ter at all on the retina. 

And then the three-colored rainbow bridge col- 
lapsed and Gladstone and Magnus — Geiger had 
died in the meantime — found themselves marooned 
in the lofty tower of an unsupported theory, built 
on the Homeric isle that “solemnly lieth in the 
Western gloom, surrounded by waves of purple 
and darkness.” 

Two men, curiously enough again an English- 
man and a German, brought this about. The name 
of the Englishman was Grant Allen, that of the 
German Dr. Ernst Krause. Grant Allen — accord- 
ing to his self-description a “comparative psychol- 
ogist” — concentrated his whole attack in one book 
(“The Colour Sense,” London, 1S79) which had 
been started before Gladstone and Magnus de- 
scended upon civilization with their nonsense. 
Ernst Krause did not write a book — which he did 

frequently and well — but fired a long succession 
of blasts in magazine articles. They are pretty 
hard to locate now, sixty-five years later, and some 
were published under his pen name, Carus Sterne, 
an anagram of his real name. 

Krause-Sterne seems to have recognized the true 
and not so very surprising cause for the Great 
Misunderstanding in a flash, because a complete 
refutation of the theory can be found in a hastily 
written review of Dr. Magnus’ book. Starting with 
Geiger's statement that the Bible never calls the 
sky “blue” in spite of two hundred and fifty op- 
portunities for doing it, Krause quietly pointed to 
Exodus 24:10. In the King James version this 
reads : 

And they saw the God of Israel: and there was tinder 
his feet as if it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, 
and as the body of heaven in his clearness. 

The Douay version renders the latter part of 
the sentence as: 

— and under his feet as if it were a work of sapphire 
stone, and as the heaven, when clear. 

Krause recognized the real shortcoming in this 
quote. It sounds very much as if a man tries his 
best to describe “blue,” while lacking the term 
itself. In fact, the Hebrew language is said to 
lack a word for blue to this day — at least Geiger 
said so. The shortcoming was one of language, 
not of vision. 

This simple explanation found substantiation in 
the fact that the lapis lazuli was highly valued in 
the ancient world. Krause pointed out that lapis 
lazuli is an opaque stone, that it does not scintil- 
late, that it is neither very hard nor very heavy, 
in short that it has no interesting features except 
its color. And that color is blue — but if the an- 
cients could not see blue, why did they value it? 
The same goes for the turquoise and I may add 
that one of the twelve stones in the breastplate of 
the High Priest was a turquoise. And the tribe 
represented by this stone — I forgot which one — 
carried a flag “the color of the turquoise.” 

Krause also pointed out that the two objects 
most likely to look blue in Nature are the sky and 
the sea. But those old poems of Homer that were 
the starting point of the whole controversy, were 
written at the shore of the Mediterranean Sea, 
where a blue sky — and consequently a blue sea — is 
normal. If the sea looked different to Homer at 
dusk or flamed red and yellow with sunrise and 
sunset, he said so explicitly and vividly. 

So much for Dr. Krause's answer to Gladstone 
and Magnus. He forgot to add that Magnus 
should have incorporated his small book on the 
development of the color sense in another bigger 



work he wrote. The title of that bigger work is 
“Superstition in Medicine"! 

Grant Allen, the “comparative psychologist," 
had been working on a thesis the gist of which was 
“color sense comes from fruit eating” when Glad- 
stone and company made their big discovery. It 
caused him to rewrite a part of his book and to 
add one or two chapters, but otherwise he saw no 
reason to doubt his own work. 

For years Allen had been corresponding with 
zoologists about the color sense of animals and 
had been mailing questionnaires to all parts of 
the British Empire, inquiring about the color sense 
of the aborigines. Their taste was often enough 
“barbaric," but it always implied perfect color 
vision. “I may as well say at once,” he wrote, 
“that the questionnaires bore out in every case 
(his italics) the supposition that the color sense is, 
as a whole, absolutely identical throughout all 
branches of the human race." 

But he found several instances of missing color 
words, bearing out Krause’s assertion that the 

shortcoming was of purely linguistic nature. He 
found, for example, that South African tribes lack 
a native word for violet, but they were able to see 
that color. A Mozambique used a Dutch word in 
his native speech, the term "purple," something he 
knew but could not name except with a borrowed 

Much nearer home, Allen found another exam- 
ple of linguistic inadequacy. The Highland Scots 
use the word gorm for the color of the sky as well 
as for that of grass — but to suggest that they are, 
therefore, color-blind, might be unwise. Further- 
more, Allen pointed out, even our own color words 
are rather, clumsy. Lilac, lavender, violet, pink, 
saffron, cherry, orange and chocolate are color 
words, but they are also the names of objects, 
mainly flowers. They are not color words origi- 
nally and a term like “cherry” can describe the 
greater part of the visible spectrum when taken 
too literally. Emulating Gladstone’s methods, 
Allen finally counted the color words in a poem 
by a man who was certainly not color-blind and 



who had the whole vocabulary of recent English 
at his disposal. The poem was Tennyson’s “Prin- 
cess” and Allen found: red ten times, rosy and 
similar terms denoting shades of red ten times, 
golden, gold et cetera twenty-six times, purple 
eight times, yellow and orange each once, together 
fifty-six mentions of the red-yellow half of the 
spectrum. The green-blue half of the spectrum 
was represented as follows : green five times, azure 
three times, blue, violet and lilac once each, to- 
gether eleven. Which proves that Tennyson saw 
red-yellow five times better than green-blue. 

And now I’ll go in for a few Gladstonisms my- 
self, looking back at the language of the Twentieth 
Century from, say, 2500 A. D. 

Even after a short and cursory contemplation of 
the available material, it becomes evident that the 
people of the Twentieth Century had a very weak 
color vision, in fact it seems as if the only color 
they saw well was red. Else it could not be ex- 
plained that they offered a choice of red or white 
wine at dinner. Wine that is not red is yellow — 
but the alternate explanation that the choice was 
wine or milk might be acceptable. It is known 
that they drank milk. 

Even the ability to see the color “red” must 
have been recently acquired in the Twentieth Cen- 
tury. An earlier English poet by the name of 
William Shakespeare wrote in “Macbeth”: 

"-—here lay Duncan 

His silver skin laced with his golden blood.” 

This proves that he could see only a difference 
in intensity: blood is, after all, red and the skin of 
the “white” race is pink. Besides they used a 
term derived from the Latin word niger for the 
colored race, the word Negro. But niger means 
definitely black, while the Negroes were of a 
blackish brown color. 

The Russians of the Twentieth Century must 
have been able to see red, since one of their daily 
newspapers was called Krassanaya Zvyesda or Red 
Star. But they could not see blue, there was no 
word for blue in their language. Rather, they had 
two such words, one used in reference to the color 
of the sky on a clear day, the other for dark-blue. 
It is evident that those terms also denoted simply 
a difference in intensity. 

The French of the same period called a dark- 
red variety of wine “blue wine” and referred to 
the hour of dusk as l’heure bleue — “blue” must 
have meant just darkness to them. 

As for the Germans of the Twentieth Century it 
can be regarded as an established fact that they 
were completely color-blind. In the first place 
they had only one word — Farbe — for dye, color, 
pigment and paint. They called rye bread “black 
bread” and a pine forest Black Forest — it is 
obvious that any dark shade, whether brown or 

green, looked simply black to them. They — and 
others — referred to nobility as blue-blooded. They 
named a certain type of beer Weissbier — white 
beer.* They called a coppersmith Rotschmid — red- 
smith as distinct from an iron or blacksmith — 
although the metal such a man worked with was 
mostly yellow brass. Finally they called an in- 
toxicated man “blue.” This usage clinches the 
case, because it is known that that idiomatic term 
was used as a superlative for “drunk.” It meant 
senselessly drunk. Senselessness implies mental 
darkness, dark is black and black is blue — Twen- 
tieth Century English also used the term "blue 
in a connotation of mental despair, mental dark- 

You say this is nonsense? But I was only imi- 
tating Gladstone’s reasoning. Of course he re- 
ferred to a more noble language, classic Greek, 
where he found that Homer used leukos for white, 
mdlas for black, erythros for red, and xanthos 
probably for yellow. He also found that chloros — 
green — and ochros — ochre — were sometimes used 
interchangeably and he was quite sure that kyanos 
never meant blue but just dark, because it was 
applied to the eyebrows of Zeus, the hair of Hector 
and of Hera and the mourning cloak of Thetis. It 
never occurred to him that Homer did not need 
to worry about the distinction between blond and 
brunet since they were all black-haired. But black 
hair can have a bluish or a reddish sheen, that 
was the one distinction required. Gladstone, to 
proceed further, wanted to translate the “blue- 
prowed ships” as the “bronze-prowed shops” — 
which would have rendered them green-prowed in 
a hurry— and he changed the frieze of kyanos in 
King Alkinoos’ hall into a frieze of bronze. (The 
latter is not impossible, since the walls of the hall 
were covered with sheet copper.) All of this was 
not taken as a proof for the legend that Homer was 
blind, but just as a proof that he could not see 
blue, which in turn was taken as an indication that 
none of the ancient Greeks could. But those peo- 
ple who saw only the red end of the spectrum 
lacked a word for orange! 

During the decades following the first publica- 
tions a number of interesting discoveries were 
made. Actual discoveries, not only the literary 
variety. The Babylonian Ishtar Gate was exca- 
vated, with towering walls built of glazed bricks, 
bricks of the brightest cornflower blue I have ever 
seen. Egyptian paintings were discovered; no color 
is missing in them. These discoveries took care 
of Lazarus Geiger’s assertions or what was left of 
them. And on Greek soil the ruins of a banquet 
hall were found, with a frieze of blue kyanos just 
as Homer had described it in his epic. 

•The term really means Welzenbler — wheat beer. 



In addition to that Pliny’s story about the de- i 
velopment of painting had found a perfectly good 
explanation — it just meant that the ancient paint- 
ers had had trouble obtaining a blue dye or pig- 
ment. Even much later, blue was very expensive ; 
one of the great masters — I believe Albrecht Diirer 
— is known to have had trouble with his wife every 
time he showed too large a blue area on his canvas. 
His wife appears to have been of the thrifty 

In short the color words of any language seem 
to have followed the accomplishments of the arti- 
sans — but they had great trouble in obtaining blue 
dyes or pigments. But vision had nothing to do 
with these struggles. 

The greater part of all this was known in 1900. 

But the “ancient curse" was not dead, it was only 
hidden away in books. In 1904 a German scholar 
wrote a book dealing with known cases of color- 
blindness as applied to the Homeric poems. As for 
Homer he just repeated Gladstone's and Magnus' 
assertions — not knowing Allen’s work at all and 
only one of Krause’s numerous articles — and ar- 
rived at the remarkable conclusion that blue blind- 
ness must have been a racial characteristic of the 
ancient Greeks. As “proof’’ he printed a color 
reproduction of an ancient painting of Zeus — not 
a great masterpiece — with a few green dabs on 
the wooden footstool of the god. A blue-blind 
man, his argument ran. would have taken that kind 
of green as a darker shade of wood color. But he 

had to admit that many people to whom he showed 
the color print failed to see the “mistake” — it took 
me quite some time to find it — or to realize what 
it indicated. He disclaimed the possibility that 
the paint may have undergone chemical changes 
in the meantime, “although no chemical analysis 
was made.” What would he “prove” from a small 
collection of modern paintings? 

Since then the assertion of Greek blue blindness 
has been resurrected from time to time, usually by 
amateur scholars. How widespread the miscon- 
ception still is even now is indicated by an excel- 
lent essay, published in December. 1927, in the 
series “Smith College Classical Studies.” The 
title of the essay is “Color in Homer and in An- 
cient Art” and its author is Florence Elizabeth 
Wallace. The author, who arrived at the correct 
result that the "blue blindness” consists of lin- 
guistic peculiarities only, admitted that she “un- 
dertook the study of the use of color in Homer 
with the conviction that its peculiarities were 
caused by shortcomings in the vision of the 
Homeric Greeks.” In other words she had at first 
accepted the story which, somehow, had reached 
her, until “further studies failed to reveal grounds 
for this idea.” 

But so far this realization seems to be restricted 
to circles of Greek scholars — when you read a 
newspaper report on a battle in which Greek sol- 
diers took place the reporter will not fail to tell 
you that they “now” see the deep blue color of the 




Agreed: “ Defense Line” did have that fiaw in de- 
picting the System two-dimensiona’ly. But I 
felt the concept of asteroid hill-billies interest- 
ing enough to make the daw forgiveahle. 

Dear Mr. Campbell: 

Because Salant does such a neat job on Dr. Smith 
in the February Brass Tacks, I will considerably 
reduce the extended comment I had in mind on 
“Second Stage Lensman." For many years Dr. 
Smith has been a fresh and stimulating writer. 
His stories have been enormously popular, not 
merely for the sake of his individual style, but 
because the readers knew they could always count 
on Dr. Smith for original and entertaining ideas, 
and were never disappointed. Ave atque vale. 
Now, for the first time, Dr. Smith has written, and 
you have published, a story the whole of which 
fails to contain a single new idea. To see the im- 
agination which has given us the successive Sky- 
larks, including Fenachrone, Osnome, Dasor, Nor- 
lamin, the Intellectuals, the Chlorans, the only 
really solid attempt at depicting fourth dimen- 
sional translation, and the most famed villain of 
all sf. ; the Triplanetary story introducing Gray 
Roger, Nevia, and the Nevians; “Spacehounds,” 
with the ice-people, hexans, and Vorkuls; and the 
earlier Patrol tales with Lens, “Helmuth speaking 
for Boskone,” Worsel, Tregonsee, et cetera — to 
see such an imagination reduced to impotency is 
a painful spectacle indeed. I deeply respect Dr. 
Smith for his past accomplishments, but if you or 
he can point to one single new idea or conception 
appearing in “Second Stage Lensman” to justify 
its publication, you will have spotted something 
two careful readings have not revealed to me. 
Enough of this painful and distressing topic. 
Unquestionably the best story in the February 

issue is “There Shall Be Darkness.” This is a 
story which simply invites comparison with S. V. 
Benet’s “Last of the Legions,” which concerns the 
departure of the Valeria Victrix from Britain 
when Rome was falling before the barbarian on- 
slaughts. And yet, though Benit is concededly 
one of the best modern masters of the short story, 
Miss Moore does not emerge from the comparison 
entirely without honors. The especial merits of 
her story, it seems to me, lie in the depiction of 
the character and psychology of the Venusian peo- 
ple, and the skill with which she is able to make 
Quanna a believable and human character, rather 
than merely "de skoit wot de bigshot bumps de 
rat off for.” The fact that the action scenes are 
by no means as clearly or as well written as the 
body of the narrative is a defect, but not one which 
spoils the story. On the whole, Miss Moore is to 
be complimented and asked to reappear in As- 
tounding’s pages as soon as conveniently may be. 

The vote for second place goes to “Sorcerer of 
Rhiannon.” An amiable, unimportant tale, it of- 
fers adequate amused diversion. Third, "Medusa,” 
more for the forcefulness of the plot than any 
other reason. Up to the actual encounter with the 
“mad planet,” the story gave promise of being ex- 
ceptionally good, but I’m sorry Sturgeon couldn’t 
have thought of a better ending. He i6, too, prob- 
ably, and I don’t know how else I could have done 
it myself. But that’s just the point — unless an 
author knows more, or is cleverer, than you, it is 
boring to read his stuff. 

There should now ensue a vast and yawning gap 
between the third and fourth. While "Second 
Stage Lensmen” can be rated fourth, it is only be- 
cause the competition is slight. This installment 
was dust and ashes to me — the final bitter blow was 
having Boskone turn out to be a mad Arisian and 



the Arisians no more than those “brains” Harry 
Bates wrote so incisively about in “Alas All 
Thinking," many, many years ago. “Starting 
Point” may have the vote for fifth, if only because 
I’ve now had quite enough of the Kilkenny Cats, 
and hope von Rachen feels the same way. The 
only original thought appearing in this series was 
the conception of bluffing an enemy with fake 
rocket trails suggesting presence of a powerful 
hostile fleet out in space. That was good. But 
this current installment is vacuous — full of vio- 
lent action, it is still tame as Billy's pet white rat, 
for the violence does not come alive and swirl the 
reader into the excitement written about. It re- 
mains deadeningly familiar, uninspired, flat as 
stale tea. 

This leaves us with only De Camp’s article await- 
ing word of its fate. The first installment greatly 
interested me; the second I found tedious. I am in- 
terested in biology, but I am majoring in zodlogy, 
not botany, or possibly this comment would be ex- 
actly reversed! 

Considered as a whole, the issue leaves me with 
a more cheerful spirit than was imparted by the 
January issue, because you printed no story in 
January I am likely to remember a year from now. 
while “There Shall Be Darkness" will, if I mistake 
not, be so remembered. 

As usual, I disagree with the Analytical Labo- 
ratory results for the December issues. I would 
give “Homo Saps" top billing, even though the 
story was not as effectively written as it might 
have been. Why "Defense Line" was either writ- 
ten or accepted I did not understand. Space is 
three dimensional, while the solar system lies ap- 
proximately in a plane. There is no need to navi- 
gate through the asteroid belt, regardless of the 
direction of approach from outer space. Only the 
scattering of suggestions regarding human sur- 
vival among the asteroids meant anything in the 

A last word on the cover — I. do not like it; it 
neither makes a harmonious and pleasing compo- 
sition — it is off-balance — nor effectively depicts an 
“action scene." Rogers might have chosen more 
successfully from the episodes in the story — I 
don't even recognize this scene at all. 

Having said his say, he saith no more. — Louis 
Russell Chauvenet, Box 1431, University Station, 
Charlottesville, Virginia. 

Information, please. 

Dear Editor: 

_ This is somewhat in the nature of a long- 
distance announcement, but I want to get this plea 
for information off my chest as easily as possible. 
I am planning another book which is to deal with 

the history of science, as reflected in contem- 
porary thought and contemporary literature. 

While I have all the material I need — and more 
— for the time prior to 1800, 1 have the feeling that 
my knowledge of English and American literature 
for the period after that date might be incom- 
plete. I am sure that I know all the French and 
German novels of that period, but it is likely that 
I may have missed a number of American and 
British books. 

For this reason I wish to ask those readers of 
science-fiction who are willing to assist me to send 
me lists of book titles — not books— of science and 
science-fiction stories known to them. — Willy Ley, 
304 West Twenty-fourth Street, New York City. 

The Kilkenny cats never did hold together; at the 
time of the revolution each group held to a 
larger group. 

Dear Editor Campbell : 

I haven’t yet put my oar in in regard to Astound- 
ing and Unknown going large size. It may be a 
smart business move — but personally I am not in 
favor of it as it is not convenient, and difficult to 
file along with the small-size magazines. However, 
if going large size will increase the sales of both 
magazines, then I am certainly in favor of it. I 
wonder, though, if you can get sufficient good ma- 
terial for the large size, especially with some of 
the best writers being inducted into the military 
forces right now. 

Personally, I don’t like to read other people's 
analyses of stories in detail, but I realize that that 
may be of some benefit to you, so I am going to 
do so for the February Astounding. 

The best story in the issue was Moore’s “There 
Shall Be Darkness." The story is well written, 
shows character development, the plot is well 
worked out and reminded me somewhat of the con- 
flict between the Normans and the Saxons in Eng- 
land in the Eleventh and Twelfth centuries. Moore 
hit an A rating here. 

The second best story was a surprise to me, 
Brackett's, “The Sorcerer of Rhiannon," and I im- 
agine that I will be the only person to rate it sec- 
ond. I am not sure why, unless the conflicts of 
personalities appeals to me. 

The third was, of course, Smith’s “Second Stage 
Lensmen," not that it is outstanding, but the writ- 
ing is good. I am glad to see the last of Boskone 
and hope, the last of Kinnison. Frankly I have 
not liked this story as it was a continuation of the 
last one. If Smith wanted to become even better 
known than he is, let him write about a few vil- 
lains. His heroes are rather sickish at times. 
Frankly, the most interesting character that Smith 
ever created was Roger in Triplanetary. A long 



book about him would be more interesting than 
anything he has written to date. The only thing 
that saved “Second Stage Lensmen” was the de- 
nouement — that Boskone was, what one should 
have thought of before, an Arisian. That was the 
only logical — I must admit I had not thought of 
it — ending to the menace of Boskone, a typical 
Nazi form of culture. I had assumed that it had 
grown through a cultural wave rather than from 
one center infecting a whole culture as the Arisian 
had done. 

Jones’ “Starting Point" is next. It is clever and 
very true of its analysis in regard to the develop- 
ment of any phase of civilization — not only trans- 

Sturgeon's “Medusa" was O. K. but not outstand- 
ing. I have “me doubts” about any organism reach- 
ing such a size. Until we have some evidence that 
life can exist in other forms than some type of 
protoplasm we cannot postulate such a gigantic 
being — planetary sizel 

I am rather tired of von Rachen’s Kilkenny Cats. 
They are the most unco-operative group that I 
have read about in a long time. I fear that even the 
curious descendants of man and his ancestors 
could not be so stupid as depicted. Perhaps I am 
wrong, but such a lack of basic intelligence and co- 
operativeness in a group that could hold together 
to pull off a revolution is not logical. 

De Camp's article was O. K. It was written 
about a year ago, wasn't it? Certain parts dated it. 

I did not like the interior illustrations for 
Moore's story. I seldom notice too closely or com- 
ment on illustrations, but these were so poor that 
even I had to notice them. The cover was fair. 
The general make-up of the magazine was good 
and the editorial very good. A majority of your 
editorials are quite good and accurate. I usually 
read them first, so don’t disappoint me some time. 
— Thomas S. Gardner, 344 Commonwealth Avenue, 
Boston, Massachusetts. 

It’s a promise / 

Dear Campbell : 

If it will make Mr. Northrup any happier, I have 
sworn off, for duration at least, stories wherein 
Invaders conquer Earth and utterly crush all re- 
sistance, only to be in their turn destroyed by 
noble young scientist who discovers that they 
cannot abide being called “You platypus!” but 
swell up and burst with frustrated fury whenever 
so insulted. I agree with Mr. Northrup that it is 
time we prepared ourselves mentally for the pros- 
pect of having to do things the hard way, the easy 
ones having, during the last two decades, failed 
egregiously. — L. Sprague de Camp, 706 Riverside 
Drive, New York City. 

The seafarers take six out of ten; Sturgeon is in 

the merchant marine. His specialty, incidentally, 

is — East coast tankers! 

Dear Mr. Campbell: 

It is approximately a year since I last wrote to 
Brass Tacks. In my case, silence has meant a 
satisfied customer. 

I don’t think any story in 1940 quite came up 
to “Sian!” or to three or four others. Also, there 
was a period in late fall and early winter when 
several stories dropped well below average for 
Astounding. But, in spite of all that, there were 
fewer below-average stories during the year than 
in 1940. Just for the record, here are my top ten 
for 1941 : 

1. “Masquerade.” 

2. "Universe.” 

3. "Nightfall.” 

4. "Common Sense.” 

5. “Methuselah’s Children.” 

6. “And He Built a Crooked House. 

7. “Microcosmic God." 

8. “Time Wants a Skeleton.” 

9. "Not Final!” 

10. “By His Bootstraps." 

It is to be noted that those seafarers, Heinlen 
and MacDonald, capture five of the places between 
them, and Asimov is in there with two. Logically, 
“Eccentric Orbit” ought to be in there somewhere, 
since it outranked “Masquerade," my pick for 
No. 1 in the Analytical Laboratory for March. 
But I’m not especially logical, so I presume I’ll 
have to leave it off; too bad. 

1942 has started off with a bang. C. L. Moore’s 
"There Shall Be Darkness" is not only the best 
story so far this year, but is superior to anything 
last year, and up to the best in 1941. Miss Moore 
has the rather marvelous faculty of being able to 
write a story about a woman, from the point of 
view of a woman, and make cynical males cheer 
long and loudly. She did the same sort of thing 
in “Fruit of Knowledge” in Unknown. First place 
in January went to Williamson’s “Breakdown.” 
Smith's latest Lensman story was a strong second 
during both months. 

For March, Del Rey takes first, with "The 
Wings of the Night," a story not far behind 
“There Shall Be Darkness.” I like the style, the 
feeling of hopeful idealism, and the reasonable 
treatment of an alien intellect. The rest of the 
issue is very fine. I liked “Goldfish Bowl,” "Day 
After Tomorrow” and “The Embassy,” in that 
order. No choice between the remaining three, 
which were O. K. I really expected “Recruiting 
Station” to place near the top of the list. It didn’t, 
partly because of the excellence of the top four, 
and partly because it seemed somewhat too vague 
and too hard to follow. It seems to me that it 
should have been longer. 



While I’m at it, I may as well add that I’m very 
well pleased with the new size. You're doing a 
fine job all around. — D. B. Thompson, 1903 Polk, 
Alexandria, Louisiana. 

Good, round lies will be accepted with pleasure. 

Got any on hand yourself? 

Dear Friend: 

Congratulations on another fine issue of “our" 
magazine! The stories continue to show a high 
standard of reader interest, and, of course, they 
are, basically, what determine the success of an 

I wish to concur with your comment on the first 
letter in Brass Tacks. I. too, for several months 
have noticed that change which has come of “grow- 
ing up with science-fiction.” We veteran fans 
have seen nearly the whole field and. perhaps, are 
sometimes prone to wish for the “good old days,” 
but, as I say, I have noticed this tendency, and 
also my changing taste in fiction and have tried to 
compensate for it, especially in rating stories for 
the An. Lab. Sorry I can’t thus compensate on 
the interior pictures, because Paul, Wesso and 
Finlay are today putting out material as good as 
anything ever seen. Of course nothing on the 
horizon can equal Rogers’ best covers. 

Now I must comment on Van Vogt’s “Recruiting 
Station” in this issue. In my opinion some of his 
basic concepts are as nutty as a squirrel colony, 
but he can really produce atmosphere. It should 
have had a “Nova” rating — indeed its style was 
reminiscent of the first of the “Novae": “Who 
Goes There?” An. Lab. No. 1, rating 94. (When 
are you going to write the first Supernova?) 

I look forward with anticipation to the STF 
Liars Colony, "Probability Zero.” Perhaps we 
may recruit a champion for the Burlington Liars 

Especially liked the last sentence in your edi- 

The cover, this issue, didn’t especially please 
me. However, that was a difficult story to get a 
concrete scene to reproduce. Mebbe something he 
et? Rating 80. 

All stories, this issue, rate high: 

2. “Day After Tomorrow.” 90. 

3. “Describe a Circle.” 88. 

4. A tie. “Wings of Night" and “Run- 
around." 87. 

5. A tie. “Embassy,” "Goldfish Bowl” and the 
article “Dispersion.” 82. 

Int-Pix, none really bad, Rogers’ are good. Is- 
sue average on int-pix: 85. Rating, issue as a 
whole, about 89. (Van Vogt’s screwy masterpiece 
pulled it up by its bootstraps.) — Lamont M. Jen- 
sen, Box 35, Cowley, Wyoming. 


• The echoes of the blasted 
bank vault had not even died 
away when, rising above the 
clangor of alarm bells, came 
a horrendous mirth that sent 
shivers of pure dread through 
those who heard it. It was— 

The Shadowl THE NORTH* 

DALE MYSTERY is the stirring 
novel featured in the May 1st 

He lifted a finger — and there 
was murder! Did the Light 
meet his master when The 
Shadow came to grips with 
this powerful force for evil? 

You will thrill to DEATH'S 
15th number of 




By Alfred Bestcr 

• — or a careless word, for that matter, coil wreck the 
entire universe. Think not? Well, if it happened this way— 

I think it’s about time someone 
got all those stories together and 
burned them. You know the 
kind I mean — X, the mad scien- 
tist, wants to change the world ; 
Y, the ruthless dictator, wants to 
rule the world; Z, the alien 
planet, wants to destroy the 

Let me tell you a different 
kind of story. It’s about a whole 
world that wanted to rule one 
man — about a planet of people 
who hunted down a single indi- 

lllmtrated by Schneoman 

vidual in an effort to change his 
life, yes, and even destroy him, 
if it had to be. It’s a story about 
one man against the entire Earth, 
but with the positions reversed. 

They’ve got a place in Manhat- 
tan City that isn’t very well 
known. Not known, I mean, in 
the sense that the cell-nucleus 
wasn't known until scientists be- 
gan to get the general idea. This 
was an undiscovered cell-nu- 
cleus, and still is, I imagine. It’s 
the pivot of our Universe. Any- 

thing that shakes the world 
comes out of it; and, strangely 
enough, any shake that does 
come out of it is intended to pre- 
vent worse upheavals. 

Don’t ask questions now. I’ll 
explain as I go along. 

The reason the average man 
doesn’t know about this particu- 
lar nucleus is that he’d probably 
go off his nut if he did. Our of- 
ficials make pretty sure it’s kept 
secret, and although some nosy- 
bodies would scream to high 

heaven if they found out some- 
thing was being kept from the 
public, anyone with sense will 
admit it’s for the best. 

It’s a square white building 
about ten stories high and it 
looks like an abandoned hospital. 
Around nine o’clock in the morn- 
ing you can see a couple of dozen 
ordinary looking citizens arriv- 
ing. and at the end of the work- 
day some of them leave. But 
there’s a considerable number 
that stay overtime and work un- 
til dawn or until the next cou- 
ple of dawns. They’re cautious 
about keeping windows covered 
so that high-minded citizens 
won't see the light and run to the 
controller’s office yawping about 
overtime and breaking down Sta- 
bility. Also they happen to have 

Yeah, it’s real big-time stuff. 
These fellas are so important, 
and their work is so important 
they’ve got permission to break 
the one unbreakable law. They 
can work overtime. In fact as 
far as they’re concerned they 
can do any damned thing they 
please, Stability or no Stability 
— because it so happens they’re 
the babies that maintain Stabil- 
ity. How? Take it easy. We’ve 
got plenty of time — and I’ll tell 

It’s called the Prog Building 
and it’s one of the regular news- 
paper beats, just like the police 
courts used to be a couple of 
hundred years ago. Every 
paper sends a reporter down 
there at three o'clock. The re- 
porters hang around and bull for 
a while and then some brass hat 
interviews them and talks policy 
and economics and about how 
the world is doing and how it’s 
going to do. Usually it’s dull 
stuff but every once in a while 
something really big comes out, 
like the time they decided to 
drain the Mediterranean. They — 


You never heard of that? Say, 
who is this guy anyway? Are 
you kidding? From the Moon, 
hey, all your life? Never been 
to the home planet? Never 

heard about what goes on? A 
real cosmic hick. Baby, you can 
roll me in a rug. I thought your 
kind died out before I was born. 
O. K., you go ahead and ask 
questions whenever you want. 
Maybe I’d better apologize now 
for the slang. It’s part and par- 
cel of the newspaper game. May- 
be you won’t be able to under- 
stand me sometimes, but I’ve got 
a heart of gold. 

Anyway — I had the regular 
three o’clock beat at the Prog 
Building and this particular day 
I got there a little early. Seems 
the Trib had a new reporter on 
the beat, guy by the name of 
Halley Hogan, whom I’d never 
met. I wanted to get together 
with him and talk policy. For 
the benefit of the hermit from 
the Moon I’ll explain that no 
two newspapers in any city are 
permitted to share the same 
viewpoint or opinion. 

I thought all you boys knew 
that. Well, sure — I’m not kid- 
ding. Look. Stability is the 
watchword of civilization. The 
world must be Stable, right? 
Well, Stability doesn’t mean 
stasis. Stability is reached 
through an equipoise of oppos- 
ing forces that balance each 
other. Newspapers are supposed 
to balance the forces of public 
opinion so they have to repre- 
sent as many different points of 
view as possible. We reporters 
always got together before a 
story, or after, and made sure 
none of us would agree on our 
attitudes. You know — some 
would say it was a terrible thing 
and some would say it was a 
wonderful thing and some would 
say it didn’t mean a thing and 
so on. I was with the Times and 
our natural competitor and op- 
position was the Trib. 

The newspaper room in the 
Prog Building is right next to 
the main offices, just off the 
foyer. It’s a big place with low- 
beamed ceiling and walls done in 
synthetic wood panels. There 
was a round table in the center 
surrounded by hardwood chairs, 


but we stood the chairs along the 
wall and dragged up the big 
deep leather ones. We all would 
sit with our heels on the table 
and every chair had a groove on 
the table in front of it. There 
was an unwritten law that no 
shop could be talked until every 
groove was filled with a pair of 
heels. That’s a newspaper man’s 
idea of a pun. 

I was surprised to find almost 
everybody was in. I slipped into 
my place and upped with my 
feet and then took a look around. 
Every sandal showed except the 
pair that should have been oppo- 
site me, so I settled back and 
shut my eyes. That was where 
the Trib man should have been 
parked, and I certainly couldn’t 
talk without my opposition be- 
ing there to contradict me. 

The Post said: “What makes. 

I said: “Ho-hum — ” 

The Post said : “Don’t sleep, 
baby, there’s big things cookin’." 

The Ledger said: “Shuddup, 
you know the rules — ” He 

pointed to the vacant segment of 

I said: "You mean the law of 
the jungle." 

The Record, who happened to 
be the Ledger’s opposition, said : 
“Old Bobbus left. He ain't com- 
ing in no more." 

“How come?” 

"Got a Stereo contract. Do- 
ing comedy scenarios." 

I thought to myself: “Oi, that 
means another wrestling match." 
You see, whenever new opposi- 
tion reporters get together, 
they’re supposed to have a sym- 
bolic wrestling match. I said 
supposed. It always turns into 
a brawl with everybody else hav- 
ing the fun. 

“Well, I said, "this new Ho- 
gan probably doesn’t know the 
ropes yet. I guess I’ll have to 
go into training. Anybody seen 
him? He look strong?” They 
all shook their heads and said 
they didn’t know him. “O. K., 
then let’s gab without him — ” 

The Post said: “Your corre- 
spondent has it that the pot’s 


a-boilin’. Every bigwig in town 
is in there.” He jabbed his 
thumb toward the main offices. 

We all gave the door a glance, 
only, like I always did, I tried 
to knock it in with a look. You 
see, although all of us came 
down to the Prog Building 
every day, none of us knew what 
was inside. Yeah, ’s’ fact. We 
just came and sat and listened to 
the big shots and went away. 
Like specters at the feast. It 
griped all of us, but me most of 

I would dream about it at 
night. How there was a Hyper- 
man living in the Prog Build- 
ing, only he breathed chlorine 
and they kept him in tanks. Or 
that they had the mummies of 
all the great men of the past 
which they reanimated every 
afternoon to ask questions. Or 
it would be a cow in some dreams 
that was full of brains and they'd 
taught it to “moo” in code. 
There were times when I 
thought that if I didn't get up- 
stairs into the Prog Building I’d 
burst from frustration. 

So I said: “You think they’re 
going to fill up the Mediter- 
ranean again?" 

The Ledger laughed. He said : 
“I hear tell they’re going to 
switch poles. to south 
and vice versa.” 

The Record said : “You don’t 
think they could?” 

The Ledger said : “I wish they 
would — if it’d improve my 

I said: “Can it, lads, and let’s 
have the dope.” 

The Journal said: “Well, all 
the regulars are in— controller, 
vice con and deputy vice con. 
But there also happens to be 
among those present — the chief 


He nodded and the others 
nodded. “Fact. The C-S him- 
self. Came up by pneumatic 
from Washington." 

I said: “Oh, mamma! Five’ll 
get you ten they’re digging up 
Atlantis this time.” 


The Record shook his head. 
“The C-S didn’t wear a digging 

Just then the door to the main 
office shoved open and the 
C-S came thundering out. I’m 
not exaggerating. Old Groating 
had a face like Moses, beard and 
all, and when he frowned, which 
was now, you expected lightning 
to crackle from his eyes. He 
breezed past the table with just 
one glance from the blue quartz 
he’s got for eyes, and all our 
legs came down with a crash. 
Then he shot out of the room so 
fast I could hear his rep tunic 
swish with quick whistling 

After him came the controller, 
the vice con and the deputy vice 
con, all in single file. They were 
frowning, too, and moving so 
rapidly we had to jump to catch 
the deputy. We got him at the 
door and swung him around. He 
was short and fat and trouble 
didn’t sit well on his pudgy face. 
It made him look slightly lop- 

He said: “Not now, gentle- 

“Just a minute, Mr. Klang,” I 
said, “I don’t think you're being 
fair to the press." 

“I know it," the deputy said, 
“and I'm sorry, but I really can- 
not spare the time.” 

I said: “So we report to fif- 
teen million readers that time 
can’t be spared these dayB — ” 

He stared at me, only I'd been 
doing some staring myself and I 
knew I had to get him to agree 
to give us a release. 

I said: “Have a heart. If any- 
thing's big enough to upset the 
stability of the chief stabilizer, 
we ought to get a look-in.” 

That worried him, and I knew 
it would. Fifteen million people 
would be more than slightly un- 
nerved to read that the C-S had 
been in a dither. 

“Listen,” I said. “What goes 
on? What were you talking 
about upstairs?" 

He said: “All right. Come 
down to my office with me. 
We’ll prepare a release.” 

Only I didn’t go out with the 
rest of them. Because, you see, 
while I’d been nudging the dep- 
uty I’d noticed that all of them 
had rushed out so fast they'd 
forgotten to close the office door. 
It was the first time I’d seen it 
unlocked and I knew I was go- 
ing to go through it this time. 
That was why I’d wheedled that 
release out of the deputy. I was 
going to get upstairs into the 
Prog Building because every- 
thing played into my hands. 
First, the door being left open. 
Second, the man from the Trib 
not being there. 

Why? Well, don’t you see? 
The opposition papers always 
paired off. The Ledger and the 
Record walked together and the 
Journal and the News and so on. 
This way I was alone with no 
one to look for me and wonder 
what I was up to. I pushed 
around in the crowd a little as 
they followed the deputy out, 
and managed to be the last one 
in the room. I slipped back be- 
hind the door jamb, waited a sec- 
ond and then streaked across to 
the office door. I went through 
it like a shot and shut it behind 
me. When I had my back 
against it I took a breath and 
whispered: “Hypcrman, here I 

I was standing in a small hall 
that had synthetic walls with 
those fluorescent paintings on 
them. It was pretty 6hort, had 
no doors anywhere, and led to- 
ward the foot of a white stair- 
case. The only way I could go 
was forward, so I went. With 
that door locked behind me I 
knew I would be slightly above 
suspicion — but only slightly, my 
friends, only slightly. Sooner 
or later someone was going to 
ask who I was. 

The stairs were very pretty. I 
remember them because they 
were the first set I’d ever seen 
outside the Housing Museum. 
They had white even step.) and 
they curved upward like a conic 
section. I ran my fingers along 
the smooth stone balustrade and 


trudged up expecting anything 
from a cobra to one of Tex Rich- 
ard’s Fighting Robots to jump 
out at me. I was scared to death. 

I came to a square railed land- 
ing and it was then I first sensed 
the vibrations. I’d thought it 
was my heart whopping against 
my ribs with that peculiar bam- 
barn-bam that takes your breath 
away and sets a solid lump of 
cold under your stomach. Then 
I realised this pulse came from 
the Prog Building itself. I 
trotted up the rest of the stairs 
on the double and came to the 
top. There was a sliding door 
there. I took hold of the knob 
and thought: “Oh, well, they 
can only stuff me and put me 
under glass” — so I shoved the 
door open. 

Boys, this was it — that nucleus 
I told you about. I’ll try to give 
you an idea of what it looked 
like because it was the most sen- 
sational thing I’ve ever seen — 
and I’ve seen plenty in my time. 
The room took up the entire 
width of the building and it was 
two stories high. I felt as 
though I'd walked into the mid- 
dle of a clock. Space was liter- 
ally filled with the shimmer and 
spin of cogs and cams that 
gleamed with the peculiar high- 
lights you 6ee on a droplet of 
water about to fall. All of those 
thousands of wheels spun in 
sockets of precious stone — just 
like a watch only bigger — and 
those dots of red and yellow and 
green and blue fire burned until 
they looked like a painting by 
that Frenchman from way back. 
Seurat was his name. 

The walls were lined with 
banks of Computation Inte- 
graphs — you could see the end- 
total curves where they were 
plotted on photoelectric plates. 
The setting dials for the Inte- 
graphs were all at eye level and 
ran around the entire circumfer- 
ence of the room like a chain of 
enormous white-faced periods. 
That was about all of the stuff I 
could recognize. The rest just 
looked complicated and bewil- 

That bam-bam-bam I told you 
about came from the very center 
of the room. There was a crystal 
octahedron maybe ten feet high, 
nipped between vertical axes 
above and below. It was spin- 
ning slowly so that it looked 
jerky, and the vibration was the 
sound of the motors that turned 
it. From way high up there were 
shafts of light projected at it. 
The slow turning facets caught 
those beams and shattered them 
and sent them dancing through 
the room. Boys — it was really 

I took a couple of steps in and 
then a little old coot in a white 
jacket bustled across the room, 
saw me, nodded, and went about 
his business. He hadn’t taken 
more than another three steps 
when he stopped and came back 
to me. It was a real slow take. 

He said : “I don’t quite — ’’ and 
then he broke off doubtfully. He 
had a withered, faraway look, as 
though he’d spent all his life try- 
ing to remember he was alive. 

I said: "I'm Carmichael." 

“Oh yes!” he began, brighten- 
ing a little. Then his face got 
dubious again. 

I played it real smart. I said : 
“I’m with Stabilizer Groatlng." 



“You know, Mr. Mitchel, he 
said, “I can’t help feeling that 
despite the gloomier aspects 
there are some very encouraging 
features. The Ultimate Datum 
System that we have devised 
should bring us down to surveys 
of the near future in a short 
time — ” He gave me a quizzical 
glance like a dog begging for ad- 
miration on his hind legs. 

I said: “Really?" 

“It stands to reason, After all, 
once a technique has been de- 
vised for pushing analysis into 
the absolute future, a compara- 
tively simple reversal should 
bring it as close as tomorrow.” 

I said: “It should at that” — 
and wondered what he was talk- 
ing about. Now that some of the 
fright had worn off I was feel- 


ing slightly disappointed. Here 
I expected to find the Hyperman 
who was handing down Sinai De- 
crees to our bosses and I walk 
into a multiplied clock. 

He was rather pleased. He 
said: “You think so?” 

“I think so.” 

“Will you mention that to Mr. 
Groating? I feel it might en- 
courage him — ” 

I got even smarter. I said: 
“To tell you the truth, sir, the 
Stabilizer sent me up for a short 
review. I’m new to the staff and 
unfortunately I was delayed in 

He said: “ Tut-tut , forgive 
me. Step this way, Mr. . . . Mr. 
Ahh — ” 

So I stepped his way and we 
went weaving through the clock- 
works to a desk at one side of the 
room. There were half a dozen 
chairs b.ehind it and he seated me 
alongside himself. The flat top 
of the desk was banked with 
small tabs and push buttons so 
that it looked like a stenotype. 
He pressed one stud and the 
room darkened. He pressed an- 
other and the bani-bam quick- 
ened until it was a steady hum. 
The octahedron crystal whirled 
so quickly that it became a shad- 
owy mist of light under the pro- 

“I suppose you know," the old 
coot said in rather self-conscious 
tones, “that this is the first time 
we’ve been able to push our de- 
finitive analysis to the ultimate 
future. We’d never have done it 
if Wiggons hadn't developed his 
self-checking data system." 

I said: "Good for Wiggons," 
and I was more confused than 
ever. I tell you, boys, it felt like 
waking up from a dream you 
couldn’t quite remember. You 
know that peculiar sensation of 
having everything at the edge of 
your mind so to speak and not 
being able to get hold of it— 
I had a thousand clues and infer- 
ences jangling around in my 
head and none of them would in- 
terlock. But I knew this was 
big stuff. 

Shadows began to play across 


the crystal. Off-focus images 
and flashes of color. The little 
old guy murmured to himself 
and his fingers plucked at the 
keyboard in a quick fugue of mo- 
tion. Finally he said: “Ah!" and 
sat back to watch the crystal. So 
did I. 

I was looking through a win- 
dow in space, and beyond that 
window I saw a single bright 
star in the blackness. It was 
sharp and cold and so brilliant it 
hurt your eyes. Just beyond the 
window, in the foreground, I saw 
a spaceship. No, none of your 
cigar things or ovate spheroids 
or any of that. It was a space- 
ship that seemed to have 
been built mostly in after- 
thoughts. A great rambling af- 
fair with added wings and tow- 
ers and helter-skelter ports. It 
looked like it’d been built just to 
hang there in one place. 

The old coot said: “Watch 
close now, Mr. Muggins, things 
happen rather quickly at this 

Quickly? They practically 
sprinted. There was a spurt of 
activity around the spaceship. 
Towers went up and came down; 
the buglike figures of people in 
space armor bustled about; a lit- 
tle cruiser, shaped like a fat nee- 
dle, sped up to it, hung around a 
while and then sped away. There 
was a tense second of waiting 
and then the star blotted out. In 
another moment the spaceship 
was blotted out, too. The crystal 
was black. 

My friend, the goofy profes- 
sor, touched a couple of studs 
and we had a long view. There 
were clusters of stars spread be- 
fore me, sharply, brilliantly in 
focus. As I watched, the upper 
side of the crystal began to 
blacken. In a few swift mo- 
ments the stars were blacked out. 
Just like that. Blooey! It re- 
minded me of school when we 
added carbon ink to a drop un- 
der the mike just to see how the 
amoebae would take it. 

He punched the buttons like 
crazy and we had more and more 

views of the Universe, and al- 
ways that black cloud crept 
along, blotting everything out. 
After a while he couldn’t find 
any more stars. There was noth- 
ing but blackness. It seemed tc 
me that it wasn’t more than an 
extra-special Stereo Show, but it 
chilled me nevertheless. I started 
thinking about those amoebae 
and feeling sorry for them. 

The lights went on and I was 
back inside the clock again. He 
turned to me and said: “Well, 
what do you think?” 

I said : “I think it’s swell.” 
That seemed to disappoint 
him. He said: “No, no — I mean, 
what do you make of it? Do you 
agree with the others?” 

“With Stabilizer Groating, 
you mean?” 

He nodded. 

I said : “You’ll have to give me 
a little time to think it over. It’s 
rather — startling.” 

"By all means,” he said, escort- 
ing me to the door, “do think it 
over. Although” — he hesitated 
with his hand on the knob — “I 
shouldn't agree with your choice 
of the word ‘startling.’ After all, 
it’s only what we expected all 
along. The Universe must come 
to an end one way or another." 

Think? Boys, the massive 
brain practically fumed as I went 
back downstairs. I went out 
into the press room and I won- 
dered what there was about a pic- 
ture of a black cloud that could 
have upset the Stabilizer. I 
drifted out of the Prog Building 
and decided I’d better go down 
to the controller’s office for an- 
other bluff, so I didn’t drift any 
more. There was a pneumatic 
pick-up at the corner. I caught 
a capsule and clicked off the ad- 
dress on the dial. In three and a 
half minutes I was there. 

As I turned the overhead dome 
back and started to step out of 
my capsule, I found myself sur- 
rounded by the rest of the news- 
paper crowd. 

The Ledger said : “Where you 
been, my friendly, we needed 
your quick brain but bad.” 

I said: "I'm still looking for 

Hogan. I can’t cover a thing un- 
til I’ve seen him. What’s this 
need for brains?” 

“Not just any brains. Your 

I got out of the capsule and 
showed my empty pocket. 

The Ledger said: "We’re not 
soaping you for a loan — we 
needed interpolation.” 


The Record said: “The dope 
means interpretation. We got 
one of those official releases 
again. All words and no sense.” 

“I mean interpolation," the 
Ledger said. "We got to have 
some one read implications into 
this barren chaff." 

I said: "Brothers, you want 
exaggeration and I’m not going 
to be it this time. Too risky.” 

So I trotted up the ramp to the 
main floor and went to the dep- 
uty vice’s office and then I 
thought: “I've got a big thing 
here, why bother with the small 
fry?” I did a turnabout and 
went straight to the controller’s 
suite. I knew it would be tough 
to get in because the controller 
has live secretaries — no voders. 
He also happens to have four re- 
ceptionists. Beautiful, but 

The first never saw me. I 
breezed right by and was in the 
second anteroom before 6he 
could say: “What is it, pa-lee- 
azz?” The second was warned 
by the bang of the door and 
grabbed hold of my arm as I 
tried to go through. I got past 
anyway, with two of them hold- 
ing on, but number three added 
her lovely heft and I bogged 
down. By this time I was within 
earshot of the controller so I 
screamed: “Down with Stabil- 

Sure I did. I also shouted: 
"Stability is all wrong! I'm for 
Chaos. Hurray for Chaos!” and 
a lot more like that. The recep- 
tionists were shocked to death 
and one of them put in a call for 
emergency and a couple of guys 
hanging around were all for bof- 
fing me. I kept on downing with 

Stability and fighting toward the 
sanctum sanctorum et cetera and 
having a wonderful time because 
the three girls hanging on to me 
were strictly class and I happily 
suffocated on Exuberant No. 5. 
Finally the controller came out 
to see what made. 

They let go of me and the con- 
troller said: “What’s the mean- 
ing of this? . . . Oh, it’s you.” 

I said: “Excuse it, please.” 

“Is this your idea of a joke. 

“No, sir, but it was the only 
quick way to get to you." 

“Sorry, Carmichael, but it's a 
little too quick." 

I said : “Wait a minute, sir." 

“Sorry, I'm extremely busy." 

He looked worried and impatient 
all at once. 

I said : “You’ve got to give me 
a moment in private.” 

"Impossible. See my secre- 
tary.” He turned toward his of- 

“Please, sir — ” 

He waved his hand and started 
through the door. I took a 
jump and caught him by the el- 
bow. He was sputtering furi- 
ously when I swung him around, 
but I got my arms around him 
and gave him a hug. When my 
mouth was against his ear I 
whispered: “I’ve been upstairs 
in the Prog Building. I know!" 

He stared at me and his jaw 
dropped. After a couple of 

vague gestures with his hands he 
motioned me in with a jerk of 
his head. I marched straight 
into the controller’s office and al- 
most fell down dead. The sta- 
bilizer was there. Yeah, old Je- 
hovah Groating himself, stand- 
ing before the window. All he 
needed was the stone tablets in 
his arms — or is it thunderbolts? 

I felt very, very sober, my 
friends, and not very smart any 
more because the stabilizer is a 
sobering sight no matter how 
you kid about him. I nodded po- 
litely and waited for the con- 
troller to shut the door. I was 
wishing I could be on the other 
side of the door. Also I was 
wishing I’d never gone upstairs 


into the Prog Building. 

The controller said: “This is 
John Carmichael, Mr. Groating, 
a reporter for the Times.” 

We both said: “How-d’you- 
do?” only Groating said it out 
loud. I just moved my lips. 

The controller said: "Now, 

Carmichael, what’s this about the 
Prog Building?” 

“I went upstairs, sir.” 

He said: “You’ll have to speak 
a little louder.” 

I cleared my throat and said: 
“I went upstairs, sir.” 

“You what!” 

“W-went upstairs.” 

This time lightning really did 
flash from the C-S's eyes. 

I said: “If I've made trouble 
for anyone, I’m sorry. I’ve been 
wanting to get up there for years 
and . . . and when I got the 
chance today, I couldn’t resist 
it — ” Then I told them how I 
sneaked up and what I did. 

The controller made a terrible 
fuss about the whole affair, and 
I knew — don’t ask me how, I 
simply knew— that something 
drastic was going to be done 
about it unless I talked plenty 
fast. By this time, though, the 
clues in my head were beginning 
to fall into place. I turned di- 
rectly to the C-S and I said: 
“Sir, Prog stands for Prognosti- 
cation, doesn’t it?” 

There was silence. Finally 
Groating nodded slowly. 

I said: “You’ve got some kind 
of fortuneteller up there. You 
go up every afternoon and get 
your fortune told. Then you 
come out and tell the press about 
it as though you all thought it up 
by yourselves. Right?” 

The controller sputtered, but 
Groating nodded again. 

I said: “This afternoon the 
end of the Universe was prog- 

Another silence. At last 
Groating sighed wearily. He 
shut the controller up with a 
wave of his hand and said: “It 
seems Mr. Carmichael does 
know enough to make things 
awkward all around.” 


The controller burst out : “It’s 
no fault of mine. I always in- 
sisted on a thorough guard sys- 
tem. If we had guarded the — ” 

“Guards,” Groating inter- 
rupted, “would only have upset 
existing Stability. They would 
have drawn attention and suspi- 
cion. We were forced to take 
the chance of a slip-up. Now 
that it’s happened we must make 
the best of it.” 

I said : “Excuse me, sir. I 
wouldn’t have come here just to 
boast. I could have kept quiet 
about it. What bothers me is 
what bothered you?” 

Groating stared at me for a 
moment, then turned away and 
began to pace up and down the 
room. There was no anger in 
his attitude; if there had been, I 
wouldn’t have been aB scared as 
I was. It was a big room and he 
did a lot of pacing and I could 
see he was coldly analyzing the 
situation and deciding what was 
to be done with me. That frigid 
appraisal had me trembling. 

I said : “I’ll give you my word 
not to mention this again — if 
that'll do the trick.” 

He paid no attention — merely 
paced. My mind raced crazily 
through all the nasty things that 
could happen to me. Like soli- 
tary for life. Like one-way ex- 
ploration. Like an obliterated 
memory track which meant I 
would have lost my twenty-eight 
years, not that they were worth 
much to anyone but me. 

I got panicky and yelled: 
“You can’t do anything to me. 
Remember Stability — ” I began 
to quote the Credo as fast as I 
could remember: “The status 
quo must be maintained at all 
costs. Every member of society 
is an integral and essential fac- 
tor of the status quo. A blow at 
the Stability of any individual is 
a blow aimed at the Stability of 
society. Stability that is main- 
tained at the cost of so much as 
a single individual is tantamount 
to Chaos — ” 

"Thank you, Mr. Carmichael,” 
the C-S interrupted. “I have al- 
r «ady learned the Credo.” 

He went to the controller’s 
desk and punched the teletype 
keys rapidly. After a few min- 
utes of horrible waiting the an- 
swer came clicking back. Groat- 
ing read the message, nodded 
and beckoned to me. I stepped 
up to him and, boys, I don’t 
know how the legs kept from 
puddling on the floor. 

Groating said: “Mr. Carmi- 
chael, it is my pleasure to ap- 
point you confidential reporter 
to the Stability Board for the du- 
ration of this crisis.” 

I said: “Awk!” 

Groating said: “We've main- 
tained Stability, you see, and in- 
sured your silence. Society can- 
not endure change — but it can 
endure and welcome harmless ad- 
ditions. A new post has been 
created and you're it.” 

I said: “Th-thanks.” 
"Naturally, there will be an 
advance in credit for you. That 
is the price we pay, and gladly. 
You will attach yourself to me. 
All reports will be confidential. 
Should you break confidence, so- 
ciety will exact the usual pen- 
alty for official corruption. Shall 
I quote the Credo on that 

I said: “No, sir!” because I 
knew that one by heart. The 
usual penalty isn’t pleasant. 
Groating had me beautifully 
hog-tied. I said: “What about 
the Times, sir?” 

"Why,” Groating said, “you 
will continue your usual duties 
whenever possible. You will 
submit the official releases as 
though you had no idea at all of 
what was really taking place. 
I'm sure I can spare you long 
enough each day to make an ap- 
pearance at your office.” 
Suddenly he smiled at me and 
in that moment I felt better. I 
realized that he was far from be- 
ing a Jehovian menace — in fact 
that he’d done all he could to 
help me out of the nasty spot my 
curiosity had got me into. I 
grinned back and on impulse 
shoved out my hand. He took it 
and gave it a shake. Everything 
was fine. 

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trical power supply is damaged. 



The C-S said: “Now that 

you’re a fellow-official, Mr. Car- 
michael, I’ll come to the point 
directly. The Prog Building, as 
you’ve guessed, is a Prognostica- 
tion Center. With the aid of a 
complete data system and a 
rather complex series of Inte- 
graphs we have been able to . . . 
to tell our fortunes, as you put 

I said : “I was just shooting 
in the dark, sir. I really don’t 
believe it.” 

Groating smiled. He said : 
“Nevertheless it exists. Proph- 
ecy is far from being a mystical 
function. It is a very logical sci- 
ence based on experimental fac- 
tors. The prophecy of an eclipse 
to the exact second of time and 
precise degree of longitude 
strikes the layman with awe. 
The scientist knows it is the re- 
sult of precise mathematical 
work with precise data.” 

“Sure,” I began, “but — ” 
Groating held up his hand. 
“The future of the world line,’’ 
he said, “is essentially the same 
problem magnified only by the 
difficulty of obtaining accurate 
data — and enough data. For ex- 
ample: Assuming an apple or- 
chard, what are the chances of 
apples being stolen?” 

I said : “I couldn't say. De- 
pends, I suppose, on whether 
there are any kids living in the 

“All right,” Groating said, 
“that’s additional data. Assum- 
ing the orchard and the small 
boys, what are the chances of 
stolen apples?” 

“Pretty good.” 

“Add data. A locust plague is 
reported on the way.” 

“Not so good.” 

“More data. Agriculture re- 
ports a new efficient locust 


“And still more data. In the 
past years the boys have stolen 
apples and been soundly pun- 
ished. Now what are the 

“Maybe a little less.” 
“Continue the experimental 

factors with an analysis of the 
boys. They are headstrong and 
will ignore punishment. Add 
also the weather forecasts for 
the summer; add the location of 
the orchard and attitude of 
owner. Now sum up: Orchard 
plus boys plus thefts plus pun- 
ishment plus character plus lo- 
custs plus spray plus — ” 

I said: “Good heavens!” 
“You’re overwhelmed by the 
detail work," Groating smiled, 
“but not by the lack of logic. It 
is possible to obtain all possible 
data on the orchard in question 
and integrate the factors into an 
accurate prophecy not only as to 
the theft, but as to the time and 
place of theft. Apply this exam- 
ple to our own Universe and you 
can understand the working of 
the Prognosis Building. We 
have eight floors of data ana- 
lyzers. The sifted factors are 
fed into the Integrators and — 
presto, prophecy!” 

I said: “Presto, my poor 

head !” 

“You’ll get used to it in time." 

I said: “The pictures?” 
Groating said : “The solution 
of a mathematical problem can 
take any one of a number of 
forms. For Prognosis we have 
naturally selected a picturization 
of the events themselves. Any 
major step in government that is 
contemplated is prepared in data 
form and fed into the Integrator. 
The effect of that step on the 
world line is observed. If it is 
beneficial, we take that step; if 
not, we abandon it and search for 
another — ” 

I said: “And the pictures I 
saw this afternoon?" 

Groating sobered. He said: 
“Up until today, Mr. Carmichael, 
we have not been able to inte- 
grate closer to the present that 
a week in the future — or deeper 
into the future than a few hun- 
dred years. Wiggon’s new data 
technique has enabled us to push 
to the end of our existence, and 
it is perilously close. You saw 
the obliteration of our Universe 
take place less than a thousand 
years from now. This is some- 

thing we must prevent at once." 

“Why all the excitement? 
Surely something will happen 
during the next ten centuries to 
avoid it.” 

“What will happen?” Groat- 
ing shook his head. “I don't 
think you understand our prob- 
lem. On the one hand you have 
the theory of our society. Sta- 
bility. You yourself have quoted 
the Credo. A society which 
must maintain its Stability at the 
price of instability is Chaos. 
Keep that in mind. On the other 
hand we cannot wait while our 
existence progresses rapidly to- 
ward extinction. The closer it 
draws to that point, the more 
violent the change will have to 
be to alter it. 

“Think of the progress of a 
snowball that starts at the top of 
a mountain and rolls down the 
slopes, growing in bulk until it 
smashes an entire house at the 
bottom. The mere push of a fin- 
ger is sufficient to alter its fu- 
ture when it starts — a push of a 
finger will save a house. But if 
you wait until the snowball gath- 
ers momentum you will need vio- 
lent efforts to throw the tons of 
snow off the course.” 

I said: “Those pictures I saw 
were the snowball hitting our 
house. You want to start push- 
ing the finger now — ” 

Groating nodded. “Our prob- 
lem now is to sift the billions of 
factors stored in the Prog Build- 
ing and discover which of them 
is that tiny snowball.” 

The controller, who had been 
silent in a state of wild suppres- 
sion all the while, suddenly 
spoke up. “I tell you it’s impos- 
sible, Mr. Groating. How can 
you dig the one significant fac- 
tor out of all those billions?” 

Groating said : “It will have to 
be done.” 

"But there’s an easier way,” 
the controller cried. “I’ve been 
suggesting it all along. Let’s at- 
tempt the trial and error method. 
We instigate a series of changes 
at once and see whether or not 
the future line is shifted. Sooner 



or later we're bound to strike 

“Impossible," Groating said. 
"You’re suggesting the end of 
Stability. No civilization is 
worth saving if it must buy sal- 
vation at the price of its princi- 

I said: “Sir, I’d like to make 
a suggestion.” 

They looked at me. The C-S 

“It seems to me that you’re 
both on the wrong track. You’re 
searching for a factor from the 
present. You ought to start in 
the future.” 

“How’s that?" 

"It’s like if I said old maids 
were responsible for more 
clover. You’d start investigat- 
ing the old maids. You ought to 
start with the clover and work 

"Just what are you trying to 
say. Mr. Carmichael?” 

“I'm talking about a posteriori 
reasoning. Look, sir, a fella by 
the name of Darwin was trying 
to explain the balance of nature. 
He wanted to show the chain of 
cause and effect. He said in so 
many words that the number of 
old maids in a town governed 
the growth of clover, but if you 
want to find out how, you’ve got 
to work it out a posteriori; from 
effect to cause. Like this: Only 
bumblebees can fertilize clover. 
The more bumblebees, the more 
clover. Field mice attack bum- 
blebee nests, so the more field 
mice, the less clover. Cats at- 
tack mice. The more cats, the 
more clover. Old maids keep 
cats. The more old maids . . . 
the more clover. Q. E. D.” 

“And now," Groating laughed, 

“Seems to me you ought to 
start with the catastrophe and 
follow the chain of causation, 
link by link, back to the source. 
Why not use the Prognosticator 
backwards until you locate the 
moment when the snowball first 
started rolling?” 

There was a very long silence 
while they thought it over. The 
controller looked slightly bewil- 

dered and he kept muttering: 
Cats — clover — old maids — But 
I could see the C-S was really 
hit. He went to the window and 
stood looking out, as motionless 
as a statue. I remember staring 
past his square shoulder and 
watching the shadows of the 
helios flicking noiselessly across 
the fa9ade of the Judiciary 
Building opposite us. 

It was all so unreal — this fran- 
tic desperation over an event a 
thousand years in the future; 
but that’s Stability. It’s strictly 
the long view. Old Cyrus Bren- 
nerhaven of the Morning Globe 
had a sign over his desk that 
read: If you take care of the 
tomorrows, the todays will take 
care of themselves. 

Finally Groating said: “Mr. 
Carmichael, I think we’d better 
go back to the Prog Building — ” 

Sure I felt proud. We left the 
office and went down the hall to- 
ward the pneumatics and I kept 
thinking : “I’ve given an idea to 
the Chief Stabilizer. He's taken 
a suggestion from met ” A cou- 
ple of secretaries had rushed 
down the hall ahead of us when 
they saw us come out, and when 
we got to the tubes, three cap- 
sules were waiting for us. 
What’s more, the C-S and the 
controller stood around and 
waited for me while I contacted 
my city editor and gave him the 
official release. The editor was 
a little sore about my disappear- 
ance, but I had a perfect alibi. I 
was still looking for Hogan. 
That, my friends, was emphati- 
cally that. 

At the Prog Building we hus- 
tled through the main offices 
and back up the curved stairs. 
On the way the C-S said he 
didn’t think we ought to tell 
Yarr, the little old coot I’d hood- 
winked, the real truth. It would 
be just as well, he said, to let 
Yarr go on thinking I was a con- 
fidential secretary. 

So we came again to that fan- 
tastic clockwork room with its 
myriad whirling cams and the re- 
volving crystal and the hypnotic 

bam-bam of the motors. Yarr 
met us at the door and escorted 
us to the viewing desk with his 
peculiar absent-minded subservi- 
ence. The room was darkened 
again, and once more we watched 
the cloud of blackness seep 
across the face of the Universe. 
The sight chilled me more than 
ever, now that I knew what it 

Groating turned to me and 
said: “Well, Mr. Carmichael, 
any suggestions?” 

I said: “The first thing we 
ought to find out is just what 
that spaceship has to do with the 
black cloud . . . don’t you think 

“Why yes, I do.” Groating 
turned to Yarr and said: “Give 
us a close-up of the spaceship 
and switch in sound. Give us 
the integration at normal speed.” 

Yarr said: “It would take a 
week to run the whole thing off. 
Any special moment you want, 

I had a hunch. “Give us the 
moment when the auxiliary ship 

Yarr turned back to his switch- 
board. We had a close-up of a 
great round port. The sound 
mechanism clicked on, running 
at high speed with a peculiar 
wheetledy-woodeldey - weedledy 
garble of shrill noises. Suddenly 
the cruiser shot into view. Yarr 
slowed everything down to nor- 
mal speed. 

The fat needle nosed into 
place, the ports clanged and 
hissed as the suction junction 
was made. Abruptly, the scene 
shifted and we were inside the 
lock between the two ships. 
Men in stained dungarees, 
stripped to the waist and sweat- 
ing, were hauling heavy canvas- 
wrapped equipment into the 
mother ship. To one side two 
elderly guys were talking 

“You had difficulty?" 

“More than ever. Thank God 
this is the last shipment." 

"How about credits?" 


“Do you mean that?” 



"I do.” 

“I can’t understand it. We 
had over two millions left.” 

“We lost all that through in- 
direct purchases and — ’’ 

“And what?” 

“Bribes, if you must know." 


“My dear sir, you can’t order 
cyclotrons without making peo- 
ple suspicious. If you so much 
as mention an atom today, you 
accuse yourself." 

“Then we all stand accused 
here and now.” 

“I’m not denying that." 

“What a terrible thing it is 
that the most precious part of 
our existence should be the most 

“You speak of — ” 

“The atom.” 

The speaker gazed before him 
meditatively, then sighed and 
turned into the shadowy depths 
of the spaceship. 

I said : “All right, that’s 

enough. Cut into the moment 

just before the black-out occurs. 
Take it inside the ship.” 

The integrators quickened and 
the sound track began its shrill 
babble again. Quick scenes of 
the interior of the mother ship 
flickered across the crystal. A 
control chamber, roofed with a 
transparent dome passed repeat- 
edly before us, with the darting 
figures of men snapping through 
it. At last the Integrator fixed on 
that chamber and stopped. The 
scene was frozen into a still- 
photograph — a tableau of half a 
dozen half-naked men poised 
over the controls, heads tilted 
back to look through the dome. 

Yarr said: “It doesn’t take 

long. Watch closely.” 

I said : “Shoot.” 

The scene came to life with a 

“ — ready on the tension 

“Ready, sir.” 

“Power checked?” 

“Checked and ready, sir." 
“Stand by, all. Time?” 

"Two minutes to go.” 

“Good — ’’ The graybeard in 
the center of the chamber paced 
with hands clasped behind him, 
very much like a captain on his 
bridge. Clearly through the 
sound mechanism came the thuds 
of his steps and the background 
hum of waiting mechanism. 

The graybeard said: “Time?" 
“One minute forty seconds.” 
“Gentlemen: In these brief 

moments I should like to thank 
you all for your splendid assis- 
tance. I speak not so much of 
your technical work, which 
speaks for itself, but of your 
willingness to exile yourselves 
and even incriminate yourselves 
along with me — Time?” 

“One twenty-five.” 

“It is a sad thing that our work 
which is intended to grant the 
greatest boon imaginable to the 
Universe should have been 
driven into secrecy. Limitless 

power is so vast a concept that 
even I cannot speculate on the 
future it will bring to our worlds. 
In a few minutes, after we have 
succeeded, all of us will be uni- 
versal heroes. Now, before our 
work is done, I want all of you 
to know that to me you are al- 
ready heroes — Time?” 

“One ten." 

“And now, a warning. When 
we have set up our spacial parti- 
tion membrane and begun the 
osmotic transfer of energy from 
hyperspace to our own there may 
be effects which I have been un- 
able to predict. Raw energy per- 
vading our space may also per- 
vade our nervous systems and 
engender various unforeseen 
conditions. Do not be alarmed. 
Keep well in mind the fact that 
the change cannot be anything 
but for the better — Time?” 
“Fifty seconds.” 

“The advantages? Up to now 
mathematics and the sciences 
have merely been substitutes for 
what man should do for himself. 
So Fitz-John preached in his 
first lecture, and so we are about 
to prove. The logical evolution 
of energy mechanics Is not to- 
ward magnification and complex 
engineering development, but to- 
ward simplification — toward the 
concentration of all those powers 
within man himself — Time?” 
"Twenty seconds.” 

"Courage, my friends. This is 
the moment we have worked for 
these past ten years. Secretly. 
Criminally. So it has always 
been with those who have 
brought man his greatest gifts.” 
“Ten seconds.” 

“Stand by, all.” 

“Ready all; sir.” 

The seconds ticked off with 
agonizing slowness. At the mo- 
ment of zero the workers were 
galvanized into quick action. It 
was impossible to follow their 
motions or understand them, but 
you could see by the smooth tim- 
ing and interplay that they were 
beautifully rehearsed. There was 
tragedy in those efforts for us 
who already knew the outcome. 
As quickly as they had begun, 

the workers stopped and peered 
upward through the crystal 
dome. Far beyond them, crisp in 
the velvet blackness, that star 
gleamed, and as they watched, 
it winked out. 

They started and exclaimed, 
pointing. The graybeard cried: 
“It’s impossible!” 

“What is it, sir?” 


And in that moment blackness 
enveloped the scene. 

I said : “Hold it — ” 

Yarr brought up the lights and 
the others turned to look at me. 
I thought for a while, idly watch- 
ing the shimmering cams and 
cogs around me. Then I said: 
“It’s a good start. The reason I 
imagine you gentlemen have 
been slightly bewildered up to 
now is that you’re busy men with 
no time for foolishness. Now 
I'm not so busy and very foolish, 
so I read detective stories. This 
is going to be kind of back- 
ward detective story.” 

“All right,” Groating said. “Go 

“We’ve got a few clues. First, 
the Universe has ended through 
an attempt to pervade it with 
energy from hyperspace. Sec- 
ond, the attempt failed for a 
number of reasons which we 
can’t discover yet. Third, the 
attempt was made in secrecy. 

The controller said: “Wny 

not? Scientists and all that — ” 
“I don’t mean that kind of 
secrecy. These men were plainly 
outside the law, carrying on an 
illicit experiment. We must find 
out why energy experiments or 
atomic experiments were illegal. 
That will carry us back quite a 
few decades toward the present.” 
"But how?" 

“Why, we trace the auxiliary 
cruiser, of course. If we can 
pick them up when they’re pur- 
chasing supplies, we’ll narrow 
our backward search considera- 
bly. Can you do it, Dr. Yarr?” 
“It’ll take time.” 

“Go ahead — we’ve got a thou- 
sand years." 


It took exactly two days. In 
that time I learned a lot about 
the Prognosticator. They had it 
worked out beautifully. Seems 
the future is made up solely of 
probabilities. The Integrator 
could push down any one of 
these possible avenues, but with 
a wonderful check. The less 
probable the avenue of future 
was, the more off-focus it was. 
If a future event was only re- 
motely possible, it was pictured 
as a blurred series of actions. 
On the other hand, the future 
that was almost positive in the 
light of present data, was sharply 
in focus. 

When we went back to the 
Prog Building two days later, 
Yarr was almost alive in his ex- 
citement. He said: “I really 

think I’ve got just the thing 
you’re looking for.” 

“What’s that?" 

“I’ve picked up an actual mo- 
ment of bribery. It has addi- 
tional data that should put us 
directly on the track.” 

We sat down behind the desk 
with Yarr at the controls. He 
had a slip of paper in his hand 
which he consulted with much 
muttering as he adjusted co- 
ordinates. Once more we saw 
the preliminary off-focus shad- 
ows, then the sound blooped on 
like a hundred Stereo records 
playing at once. The crystal 
sharpened abruptly into focus. 

The scream and roar of a 
gigantic foundry blasted our 
ears. On both sides of the scene 
towered the steel girder columns 
of the foundry walls, stretching 
deep into the background like 
the grim pillars of a satanic 
cathedral. Overhead cranes car- 
ried enormous blocks of metal 
with a ponderous gait. Smoke 
—black, white and fitfully flared 
with crimson from the furnaces, 
whirled around the tiny figures. 

Two men stood before a gigan- 
tic casting. One, a foundryman 
in soiled overalls, made quick 
measurements which he called 
off to the other carefully check- 
ing a blueprint. Over the roar 


of the foundry the dialogue was 
curt and sharp : 

“One hundred three point 


“Short axis. Fifty-two point 


“Tangent on ovate diameter. 
Three degrees point oh five two." 


“What specifications for outer 

“Y equals cosine X." 

“Then that equation resolves 
to X equals minus one half Pi." 


The foundryman climbed down 
from the casting, folding his 
thiee-way gauge. He mopped his 
face with a bit of waste and eyed 
the engineer curiously as the lat- 
ter carefully rolled up the blue- 
print and slid it into a tube of 
other rolled sheets. The foun- 
dryman said: "I think we did 

a nice job." 

The engineer nodded. 

“Only what in blazes do you 
want it for. Never saw a casting 
like that.” 

“I could explain, but you 
wouldn’t understand. Too com- 

The foundryman flushed. He 
said: “You theoretical guys are 
too damned snotty. Just because 
I know how to drop-forge 
doesn’t mean I can’t understand 
an equation.” 

“Mebbeso. Let it go at that. 
I'm ready to ship this casting 
out at once." 

As the engineer turned to 
leave, rapping the rolled blue- 
prints nervously against his calf, 
a great pig of iron that had been 
sailing up from the background 
swung dangerously toward his 
head. The foundryman cried 
out. He leaped forward, seized 
the engineer by the shoulder and 
sent him tumbling to the con- 
crete floor. The blueprints went 

He pulled the engineer to his 
feet immediately and tried to 
straighten the dazed man who 
could only stare at the tons of 
iron that sailed serenely on. The 

foundryman picked up the scat- 
tered sheets and started to sort 
them. Abruptly he stopped and 
examined one of the pages 
closely. He began to look 
through the others, but before 
he could go any further, the blue- 
prints were snatched from his 

He said: “What’s this casting 

The engineer rolled the sheets 
together with quick, intense mo- 
tions. He said: “None of your 
blasted business.” 

“I think I know. That’s one- 
quarter a cyclotron. You're get- 
ting the other parts made up in 
different foundries, aren’t you?” 
There was no answer. 

"Maybe you’ve forgotten Sta- 
bilization Rule 93." 

“I haven’t forgotten. You’re 

“Want me to call for official 

The engineer took a breath, 
then shrugged. He said : “I 

suppose the only way to con- 
vince you is to show you the 
master drafts. Come on — ” 

They left the foundry and 
trudged across the broad con- 
crete of a landing field to where 
the fat needle of the auxiliary 
ship lay. They mounted the 
ramp to the side port and en- 
tered the ship. Inside, the en- 
gineer called : “It’s happened 

again, boys. Let’s go!" 

The port swung shut behind 
them. Spacemen drifted up from 
the surrounding corridors and 
rooms. They were rangy and 
tough-looking and the sub-nosed 
paralyzers glinted casually in 
their hands as though they'd 
been cleaning them and merely 
happened to bring them along. 
The foundryman looked around 
for a long time. At last he said : 
“So it’s this way?” 

“Yes, it’s this way. Sorry.” 
“I'd like you to meet some of 
my friends, some day — ” 
“Perhaps we will.” 

“They’ll have an easier time 
with you than you’re gonna have 
with me!” He clenched fists and 

poised himself to spring. 

The engineer said: “Hey — 

wait a minute. Don't lose your 
head. You did me a good turn 
back there. I'd like to return 
the favor. I've got more credit 
than I know what to do with.” 

The foundryman gave him a 
perplexed glance. He relaxed 
and began to rub his chin dubi- 

He said: "Damn if this isn’t 
a sociable ship. I feel friendlier 
already — ” 

The engineer grinned. 

I called: “O. K., that’s enough. 
Cut it," and the scene vanished. 

"Well?” Yarr asked eagerly. 

I said: "We’re really in the 
groove now. Let's check back 
and locate the Stabilization de- 
bates on Rule 930." I turned to 
the C-S. "What’s the latest rule 
number, sir?" 

Groating said: “Seven fifteen.” 

The controller had already 
been figuring. He said : “Figur- 
ing the same law-production rate 
that would put Rule 930 about 
six hundred years from now. Is 
that right, Mr. Groating?" 

The old man nodded and Yarr 
went back to his keyboard. I’m 
not going to bother you with 
what we all went through be- 
cause a lot of it was very dull. 
For the benefit of the hermit 
from the Moon I'll just mention 
that we hung around the Stabil- 
ity Library until we located the 
year S. R. 930 was passed. Then 
we shifted to Stability headquar- 
ters and quick-timed through 
from January 1st until we picked 
up the debates on the rule. 

The reasons for the rule were 
slightly bewildering on the one 
hand, and quite understandable 
on the other. It seems that in 
the one hundred and fifty years 
preceding, almost every Earth- 
wide university had been blown 
up in the course of an atomic- 
energy experiment. The blow- 
ups were bewildering — the rule 
understandable. I’d like to tell 
you about that debate because — 
well, because things happened 
that touched me. 

The Integrator selected a cool, 


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smooth foyer in the Administra- 
tion Building at Washington. It 
had a marble floor like milky ice 
flecked with gold. One side was 
broken by a vast square window 
studded with a thousand round- 
bottle panes that refracted the 
afternoon sunlight into showers 
of warm color. In the back- 
ground were two enormous doors 
of synthetic oak. Before those 
doors stood a couple in earnest 
conversation — a nice-looking boy 
with a portfolio under his arm. 
and a stunning girl. The kind 
with sleek-shingled head and one 
of those clean-cut faces that look 
fresh and wind-washed. 

The controller said: “Why, 

that’s the foyer to the Seminar 
Room. They haven’t changed it 
at all in six hundred years." 

Groating said: “Stability!” 

and chuckled. 

Yarr said: “The debate is go- 
ing on inside. I’ll shift scene — ” 

“No — wait,” I said. “Let’s 
watch this for a while." I don’t 
know why I wanted to — except 
that the girl made my pulse run 
a little faster and I felt like look- 
ing at her for a couple of years. 

She was half crying. She said: 
“Then, if for no other reason — 
for my sake.” 

“For yours!" The boy looked 

She nodded. “You’ll sweep 
away his life work with a few 
words and a few sheets of 

“My own work, too." 

“Oh, but won’t you under- 
stand? You’re young. I’m 
young. Youth loves to shatter 
the old idols. It feasts on the 
broken shards of destruction. It 
destroys the old ideas to make 
way for its own. But he’s not 
young like us. He has only his 
past work to live on. If you 
shatter that, he’ll have nothing 
left but a futile resentment. I’ll 
be pent up with a broken old man 
who’ll destroy me along with 
himself. Darling, I'm not say- 
ing you’re wrong — I’m only ask- 
ing you to wait a little.” 

She was crying openly now. 

The boy took her by the arm and 
led her to the crusted window. 
She turned her face away from 
the light — away from him. The 
boy said: “He was my teacher. 
I worship him. What I’m doing 
now may seem like treachery, 
but it’s only treachery to his old 
age. I’m keeping faith with 
what he was thirty years ago — 
with the man who would have 
done the same thing to his 

She cried: “But are you 

keeping faith with me? You, 
who will have all the joy of de- 
stroying and none of the tedious 
sweeping away the pieces. What 
of my life and all the weary 
years to come when I must cod- 
dle him and soothe him and lead 
him through the madness of for- 
getting what you've done to 

"You’ll spend your life with 
me. I break no faith with you, 

She laughed bitterly. "How 
easily you evade reality. I shall 
spend my life with you — and in 
that short sentence, poof !" — she 
flicked her hand — "you dismiss 
everything. Where will he live? 
Alone? With us? Where?” 

"That can be arranged.” 

“You’re so stubborn, so pig- 
headed in your smug, righteous 
truth-seeking, Steven — for the 
very last time — please. Wait un- 
til he’s gone. A few years, that’s 
all. Leave him in peace. Leave 
us in peace." 

He shook his head and started 
toward the oaken doors. “A few 
years waiting to salvage the 
pride of an old man, a few more 
catastrophies, a few more thou- 
sand lives lost — it doesn’t add 

She sagged against the win- 
dow, silhouetted before the riot 
of color, and watched him cross 
to the doors. All the tears 
seemed drained out of her. She 
was so limp I thought she would 
fall to the floor at any instant. 
And then, as I watched her, I 
saw her stiffen and I realized 
that another figure had entered 
the foyer and was rushing to- 

ward the boy. It was an oldish 
man, bald and with an ageless 
face of carved ivory. He was 
tall and terribly thin. His eyes 
were little pits of embers. 

He called: “Steven!” 

The boy stopped and turned. 

“Steven, I want to talk to you." 

“It’s no use, sir!" 

“You’re headstrong, Steven. 
You pit a few years’ research 
against my work of a lifetime. 
Once I respected you. I thought 
you would carry on for me as 
I’ve carried on for the genera- 
tions that came before me." 

“I am, sir.” 

“You are not.” The old man 
clutched at the boy’s tunic and 
spoke intensely. "You betray all 
of us. You will cut short a line 
of research that promises the sal- 
vation of humanity. In five min- 
utes you will wipe out five cen- 
turies of work. You owe it to 
those who slaved before us not 
to let their sweat go in vain.” 

The boy said: “I have a debt 
also to those who may die.” 

“You think too much of death, 
too little of life. What if a 
thousand more are killed— ten 
thousand— in the end it will be 
worth it." 

“It will never be worth it. 
There will never be an end. The 
theory has always been wrong, 
faultily premised." 

“You fooll” the old man cried. 
“You damned, blasted young 
fool. You can’t go in there!" 

“I’m going, sir. Let go." 

“I won’t let you go in.” 

The boy pulled his arm free 
and reached for the doorknob. 
The old man seized him again 
and yanked him off balance. The 
boy muttered angrily, set him- 
self and thrust the old man back. 
There was a flailing blur of mo- 
tion and a cry from the girl. She 
left the window, ran across the 
room and thrust herself between 
the two. And in that instant she 
screamed again and stepped back. 
The boy sagged gently to the 
floor, his mouth opened to an O 
of astonishment. He tried to 
speak and then relaxed. The girl 

dropped to her knees alongside 
him and tried to get his head on 
her lap. Then she stopped. 

That was all. No Bhot or any- 
thing. I caught a glimpse of a 
metallic barrel in the old man’s 
hand as he hovered frantically 
over the dead boy. He cried: 
“I only meant to — I — ” and kept 
on whimpering. 

After a while the girl turned 
her head as though it weighed a 
ton, and looked up. Her face 
was suddenly frostbitten. In 
dull tones she said: “Go away, 

The old man said: "I only — ” 
His lips continued to twitch, but 
he made no sound. 

The girl picked up the port- 
folio and got to her feet. With- 
out glancing again at her father, 
she opened the doors, stepped in 
and closed them behind her with 
a soft click. The debating voices 
broke off at the sight of her. She 
walked to the head of the table, 
set the portfolio down, opened 
it and took out a sheaf of type- 
script. Then she looked at the 
amazed men who were seated 
around the table gaping at her. 

She said: “I regret to inform 
the stabilizers that Mr. Steven 
Wilder has been unavoidably de- 
tained. As his fiancie and co- 
worker, however, I have been 
delegated to carry on his mission 
and present his evidence to the 
committee — ” She paused and 
went rigid, fighting for control. 

One of the stabilizers said : 
"Thank you. Will you give your 
evidence, Miss . . . Miss?” 

"Barbara Leeds.” 

"Thank you, Miss Leeds. Will 
you continue?” 

With the gray ashes of a voice 
she went on: "We are heartily 
in favor of S. R. 930 prohibiting 
any further experimentation in 
atomic energy dynamics. All 
such experiments have been 
based on — almost inspired by the 
Fitzjohn axioms and mathe- 
matic. The catastrophic detona- 
tions which have resulted must 
invariably result since the basic 
premises are incorrect. We shall 
prove that the backbone of Fitz- 

John's equations is entirely in 
error. I speak of 

She glanced at the notes, hesi- 
tated for an instant, and then 
continued: “Fitzjohn's errors 

are most easily pointed out if we 
consider the Leeds Derivations 
involving transfinite cardinals — ” 

The tragic voice droned on. 

I said: "C-cut.” 

There was silence. 

We sat there feeling bleak and 
cold, and for no reason at all, the 
icy sea-green opening bars of 
Debussy’s “La Mer” ran through 
my head. I thought: “I’m 

proud to be a human — not be- 
cause I think or I am, but be- 
cause I can feel. Because hu- 
manity can reach out to us across 
centuries, from the past or fu- 
ture, from facts or imagination, 
and touch us — move us.” 

At last I said: “We're moving 
along real nice now.” 

No answer. 

I tried again: "Evidently that 
secret experiment that destroyed 
existence was based on this Fitz- 
John’s erroneous theory, eh?" 

The C-S stirred and said: 
“What? Oh — Yes, Carmichael, 
quite right.” 

In low tones the controller 
said : “I wish it hadn't hap- 

pened. He was a nice-looking 
youngster, that Wilder — prom- 

I said: “In the name of 

heaven, sir, it’s not going to hap- 
pen if we pull ourselves together. 
If we can locate the very begin- 
ning and change it, he’ll prob- 
ably marry the girl and live hap- 
pily ever after.” 

“Of course — ” The controller 
was confused. “I hadn’t real- 

I said: “We’ve got to hunt 
back a lot more and locate this 
Fitzjohn. He seems to be the 
key man in this puzzle.” 

And how we searched. Boys, 
it was like worKing a four- 
dimensional jig saw, the fourth 
dimension in this case being 


time. We located a hundred uni- 
versities that maintained chairs 
and departments exclusively de- 
voted to Fitzjohn’s mathematics 
and theories. We slipped back 
a hundred years toward the pres- 
ent and found only fifty and in 
those fifty were studying the 
men whose pupils were to fill the 
chairs a century later. 

Another century back and 
there were only a dozen univer- 
sities that followed the Fitz- 
john theories. They filled the 
scientific literature with tren- 
chant, belligerent articles on 
Fitzjohn, and fought gory bat- 
tles with his opponents. How 
we went through the libraries. 
How many shoulders we looked 
over. How many pages of equa- 
tions we snap-photographed 
from the whirling octahedron for 
future reference. And finally 
we worked our way back to Bow- 
doin College, where Fitzjohn 
himself had taught, where he 
worked out his revolutionary 
theories and where he made his 
first converts. We were on the 
home stretch. 

Fitzjohn was a fascinating 
man. Medium height, medium 
color, medium build — his body 
had the rare trick of perfect 
balance. No matter what he was 
doing, standing, sitting, walking, 
he was always exquisitely poised. 
He was like the sculptor’s ideali- 
zation of the perfect man. Fitz- 
john never smiled. His face was 
cut and chiseled as though from 
a roughish sandstone; it had the 
noble dignity of an Egyptian 
carving. His voice was deep, un- 
impressive in quality, yet unfor- 
gettable for the queer, intense 
stresses it laid on his words. Al- 
together he was an enigmatic 

He was enigmatic for another 
reason, too, for although we 
traced his career at Bowdoin 
backward and forward for all 
its forty years, although we 
watched him teach the scores and 
scores of disciples who after- 
ward went out into the scholastic 
world to take up the fight for 
him — we could never trace Fitz- 



John back into his youth. It 
was impossible to pick him up at 
any point earlier than his first 
appearance on the physics staff 
of the college. It seemed as 
though he were deliberately con- 
cealing his identity. 

Yarr raged with impotent fury. 
He said: “It’s absolutely ag- 

gravating. Here we follow the 
chain back to less than a half 
century from today and we’re 
blocked — ” He picked up a small 
desk phone and called upstairs 
to the data floors. “Hullo, Cul- 
len? Get me all available data 
on the name Fitzjohn. Fitz- 
JOHN. What's the matter, you 
deaf? F-I-T-Z . . . That's right. 
Be quick about it." 

I said: "Seems as if Fitz- 

john didn't want people to know 
where he came from.” 

“Well," Yarr said pettishly, 
“that’s impossible. I'll trace him 
backward Becond by second, if I 
have to!” 

I said: “That would take a 
little time, wouldn't it?" 


“Maybe a couple of years?” 
"What of it? You said we had 
a thousand." 

“I didn't mean you to take me 
seriously, Dr. Yarr.” 

The small pneumatic at Yarr’s 
desk whirred and clicked. Out 
popped a cartridge. Yarr opened 
it and withdrew a list of figures, 
and they were appalling. Some- 
thing like two hundred thousand 
Fitzjohns on the Earth alone. 
It would take a decade to check 
the entire series through the In- 
tegrator. Yarr threw the figures 
to the floor in disgust and swiv- 
eled around to face us. 

“Well?" he asked. 

I said: “Seems hopeless to 

check Fitzjohn back second by 
second. At that rate we might 
just as well go through all the 
names on the list.” 

“What else is there to do?” 

I said: “Look, the Prognosti- 
cator flirted twice with some- 
thing interesting when we were 
conning Fitz John’s career. It 
was something mentioned all 
through the future, too.” 

“I don’t recall — " the C-S be- 

“It was a lecture, sir," I ex- 
plained. “Fitzjohn’s first big 
lecture when he set out to refute 
criticism. I think we ought to 
pick that up and go through it 
with a fine comb. Something is 
bound to come out of it." 

"Very well." 

Images blurred across the spin- 
ning crystal as Yarr hunted for 
the scene. I caught fuzzy frag- 
ments of a demolished Manhat- 
tan City with giant crablike crea- 
tures mashing helpless humans, 
their scarlet chiton glittering. 
Then an even blurrier series of 
images. A city of a single stu- 
pendous building towering like 
Babel into the heavens; a catas- 
trophic fire roaring along the 
Atlantic seaboard; then a sylvan 
civilization of odd, naked crea- 
tures flitting from one giant 
flower to another. But they were 
all so far off focus they made 
my eyes ache. The sound was 
even worse. 

Groating leaned toward me and 
whispered: "Merely vague pos- 
sibilities — ” 

I nodded and then riveted my 
attention to the crystal, for it 
held a clear scene. Before us lay 
an amphitheater. It was mod- 
eled on the ancient Greek form, 
a horseshoe of gleaming white- 
stone terraces descending to a 
small square white rostrum. Be- 
hind the rostrum and surround- 
ing the uppermost tiers of seats 
was a simple colonnade. The 
lovely and yet noble dignity was 

The controller said: “Hel-lo, 
I don't recognize this." 

“Plans are in the architectural 
offices," Groating said. “It isn't 
due for construction for another 
thirty years. We intend placing 
it at the north end of Central 

It was difficult to hear them. 
The room was filled with the bel- 
low and roar of shouting from 
the amphitheater. It was packed 
from pit to gallery with quick- 

jerking figures. They climbed 
across the terraces; they fought 
up and down the broad aisles; 
they stood on their seats and 
waved. Most of all they opened 
their mouths into gaping black 
blots and shouted. The hoarse 
sound rolled like slow, thunder- 
ous waves, and there was a faint 
rhythm struggling to emerge 
from the chaos. 

A figure appeared from behind 
the columns, walked calmly up 
to the platform and began ar- 
ranging cards on the small table. 
It was Fitzjohn, icy and self- 
possessed. statuesque in his 
white tunic. He stood alongside 
the table, carefully sorting his 
notes, utterly oblivious of the 
redoubled roar that went up at 
his appearance. Out of that tur- 
moil came the accented beats of 
a doggerel rhyme: 









When he was finished, Fitz- 
john straightened and, resting 
the fingertips of his right hand 
lightly on top of the table, he 
gazed out at the rioting — un- 
smiling. motionless. The pan- 
demonium was reaching unpre- 
cedented heights. As the chant- 
ing continued, costumed figures 
appeared on the terrace tops and 
began fighting down the aisles 
toward the platform. There were 
men wearing metal-tubed frame- 
works representing geometric 
figures. Cubes, spheres, rhom- 
boids and tesseracts. They 
hopped and danced outlandishly. 

Two young boys began unreel- 
ing a long streamer from a drum 
concealed behind the colonnade. 
It was of white silk and an end- 
less equation was printed on it 
that read: 

eia = 1 + ia — a2! + a3! — a4! . . . 
and so on, yard after yard after 
yard. It didn’t exactly make 
sense, but I understood it to be 



some kind of cutting reference tc 
Fitzjohn's equations. 

There were hundreds of others, 
some surprising and many ob- 
scure. Lithe contortionists, made 
up to represent Mobius Strips, 
grasped ankles with their hands 
and went rolling down the aisles. 
A dozen girls appeared from no- 
where, clad only in black net 
representing giant Aleph-Nulls, 
and began an elaborate ballet. 
Great gas-filled balloons, shaped 
into weird topological manifolds 
were dragged in and bounced 

It was utter insanity and ut- 
terly degrading to see how these 
mad college kids were turning 
Fitzjohn’s lecture into a Mardi 
Gras. They were college kids, of 
course, crazy youngsters who 
probably couldn’t explain the 
binomial theorem, but neverthe- 
less were giving their own form 
of expression to their teachers’ 
antagonism to Fitzjohn. I 
thought vaguely of the days cen- 
turies back when a thousand 
Harvard undergraduates did a 
very similar thing when Oscar 
Wilde came to lecture. Under- 
graduates whose entire reading 
probably consisted of the Police 

And all the while they 
danced and shouted and 
screamed, Fitz-John 
stood motionless, finger- 
tips just touching the ta- 
ble, waiting for them to 
finish. You began with 
an admiration for his 
composure. Then sud- 
denly you realized what 
a breathtaking perform- 
ance was going on. You 
glued your eyes to the 
motionless figure and 
waited for it to move — 
and it never did. 


You don’t think that 
was so terrific, eh? Well, 
one of you get up and 
try it. Stand alongside a 
table and rest your fin- 
gertips lightly on the top 
— not firmly enough to 
bear the weight of your 

arm — but just enough to make 
contact. Maybe it sounds sim- 
ple. Just go ahead and try it. 
I’ll bet every credit I ever own 
no one of you can stand there 
without moving for sixty sec- 
onds. Any takers? I thought 
not. You begin to get the idea, 

They began to get the same 
idea in the amphitheater. At 
first the excitement died down 
out of shame. There’s not much 
fun making a holy show of your- 
self if your audience doesn’t 
react. They started it up again 
purely out of defiance, but it 
didn’t last long. The chanting 
died away, the dancers stopped 
cavorting, and at last that en- 
tire audience of thousands stood 
silent, uneasily watching Fitz- 
John. He never moved a muscle. 

After what seemed like hours 
of trying to outstare him, the 
kids suddenly gave in. Spatters 
of applause broke out across the 
terraces. The clapping was 
taken up and it rose to a thunder 
of beating palms. No one is as 
quick to appreciate a great per- 
formance as a youngster. These 
kids sat down in their seats and 
applauded like mad. Fitzjohn 
never moved until the applause. 

too, had died down, then he 
picked up his card and, without 
preamble — as though nothing at 
all had happened — he began his 

“Ladies and gentlemen, I have 
been accused of creating my 
theory of energy-dynamics and 
my mathematics out of nothing — 
and my critics cry : ‘From noth- 
ing comes nothing.’ Let me re- 
mind you first that man does not 
create in the sense of inventing 
what never existed before. Man 
only discovers. The things we 
seem to invent, no matter how 
novel and revolutionary, we 
merely discover. They have 
been waiting for us all the time. 

“Moreover, I was not the sole 
discoverer of this theory. No 
scientist is a lone adventurer, 
striking out into new fields for 
himself. The way is always led 
by those who precede us, and 
we who seem to discover all, 
actually do no more than add our 
bit to an accumulated knowledge. 

“To show you how small my 
own contribution was and how 
much I inherited from the past, 
let me tell you that the basic 
equation of my theory is not even 
my own. It was discovered some 



fifty years prior to this day — 
some ten years before I was born. 

"For on the evening of Febru- 
ary 9, 2909, in Central Park, on 
the very site of this amphithea- 
ter, my father, suddenly struck 
with an idea, mentioned an equa- 
tion to my mother. That equa- 

li °” : •i=(b/a)l7'ie/ | x..." 

was the inspiration for my own 
theory. So you can understand 
just how little I have contributed 
to the ‘invention’ of The Tension 
Energy-Dynamics Equations — " 

Fitzjohn glanced at the first 
card and went on: “Let us con- 
sider, now, the possible permuta- 
tions on the factor e/jt, •' 

I yelled: “That's plenty. 

Cut I" and before the first word 
was out of my mouth the con- 
troller and the C-S were shout- 
ing, too. Yarr blanked out the 
crystal and brought up the lights. 
We were all on our feet, looking 
at each other excitedly. Yarr 
jumped up so fast his chair went 
over backward with a crash. We 
were in a fever because, boys, 
that day happened to be Febru- 
ary 9, 2909, and we had just about 
two hours until evening. 

The controller said : “Can we 
locate these Fitzjohns?” 

“In two hours? Don’t be silly. 
We don't even know if they’re 
named Fitzjohn today." 

“Why not?” 

“They may have changed their 
name — it’s getting to be a fad 
nowadays. The son may have 
changed his name as a part of 
that cover-up of his past. 
Heaven only knows why not — ” 

"But we’ve got to split them 
up — whoever they are." 

The C-S said: “Take hold of 
yourself. How are we going to 
separate eleven million married 
people? Didn’t you ever hear of 

“Can’t we publish a warning 
and order everybody out of the 

“And let everybody know 
about the Prog Building?” I 
said. “You keep forgetting 

“Stability be damned! We 
can’t let them have that conver- 
sation — and if they do anyway, 
we can’t let them have that boy!” 
Groating was really angry. He 
said : “You'd better go home and 
read through the Credo. Even if 
it meant the salvation of the Uni- 
verse I would not break up a 
marriage — nor would I harm the 

“Then what do we do?” 

“Have patience. We’ll think 
of something.” 

I said: “Excuse me, sir — I’ve 
got an idea.” 

"Forget ideas,” the controller 
yelled, “we need action.” 

“This is action.” 

The C-S said : “Go ahead, Car- 

“Well, obviously the important 
thing is to keep all married cou- 
ples out of the north sector of 
Central Park tonight. Suppose 
we get a special detail of police 
together at once. Then we beat 
through the park and get every- 
one out. We can quarantine it — 
set up a close cordon around the 
park and guard it all night.” 

The controller yelled: “It 

may be one of the policemen.” 
"O. K., then we pick the un- 
married ones. Furthermore, we 
give strict orders that all women 
are to stay away." 

The C-S said : “It might work 
— it’ll have to work. We can’t 
let that conversation take place.” 
I said: “Excuse me, sir, do 
you happen to be married?” 

He grinned: “My wife’s in 

Washington. I’ll tell her to stay 

“And the controller, sir?” 

The controller said: “She’ll 

stay home. What about your- 

“Me? Strictly bachelor.” 
Groating laughed. “Unfortu- 
nate, but excellent for tonight. 
Come, let’s hurry.” 

We took the pneumatic to 
headquarters and let me tell you, 
stuff began to fly, but high! Be- 
fore we were there ten minutes, 
three companies were reported 
ready for duty. It seemed to 

satisfy the controller, but it 
didn't satisfy me. I said: 
“Three’s not enough. Make it 

“Five hundred men? You’re 

I said: “I wish it could be 

five thousand. Look, we’ve 
knocked our brains out digging 
through a thousand years for this 
clue. Now that we've got it I 
don’t want us to muff the 

The C-S said : “Make it five." 

“But I don’t think we’ve got 
that many unmarried men in the 

“Then get all you can. Get 
enough so they can stand close 
together in the cordon — close 
enough so no one can wander 
through. Look — this isn’t a case 
of us hunting down a crook who 
knows we’re after him. We’re 
trying to pick up a couple who 
are perfectly innocent — who may 
wander through the cordon. 
We’re trying to prevent an acci- 
dent, not a crime.” 

They got four hundred and ten 
all told. The whole little regi- 
ment was mustered before head- 
quarters and the C-S made a 
beautifully concocted speech 
about a criminal and a crime that 
had to be prevented and hoopus- 
gadoopus, I forget most of it. 
Naturally we couldn’t let them 
know about the Prog Building 
any more than we could the citi- 
zens — and I suppose you under- 
stand why the secret had to be 

You don't, eh? Well, for the 
benefit of the hermit from the 
Moon I’ll explain that, aside from 
the important matter of Stabil- 
ity, there’s the very human fact 
that the Prog would be besieged 
by a million people a day looking 
for fortunetelling and hot tips 
on the races. Most important of 
all, there’s the question of death. 
You can’t let a man know when 
and how he’s going to die. You 
just can’t. 

There wasn’t any sense keep- 
ing the news from the papers 
because everyone around Central 
Park was going to know some- 

thing was up. While the C-S 
was giving instructions, I slipped 
into a booth and asked for multi- 
dial. When most of the repor- 
ers’ faces were on segments of 
the screen, I said: “Greetings, 

They all yelled indignantly be- 
cause I’d been out of sight for 
three days. 

I said: “No more ho-hum, 

lads. Carmichael sees all and 
tells all. Hot-foot it up to the 
north end of Central Park in an 
hour or so. Big stuff !” 

The Journal said : “Take you 
three days to find that out?" 


The Post said: “Can it, Car- 
michael. The last time you sent 
us north, the south end of the 
Battery collapsed." 

“This is no gag. I’m giving it 
to you straight." 

“Yeah?” The Post was bel- 
ligerent. “I say Gowanl” 

“Gowan yourself,” the Ledger 
said. “This side of the opposi- 
tion is credible." 

“You mean gullible." 

I said: “The word this time is 
sensational. Four hundred po- 
lice on the march. Tramp-tramp- 
tramp — the beat of the drum — 
boots — et cetera. Better get mov- 
ing if you want to tag along.” 

The News gave me a nasty 
smile and said: “Brother, for 

your sake it better be good — be- 
cause I’m preparing a little sen- 
sation of my own to hand over.” 

I said: "Make it a quick dou- 
ble cross. Newsy. I’m in a 
hurry,” and I clicked off. It’s 
funny how sometimes you can't 
get along right with wrong peo- 

You know how fast night 
comes on in February. The black- 
ness gathers in the sky like a 
bunched cape. Then someone 
lets it drop and it sinks down 
over you with swiftly spreading 
black folds. Those dusky folds 
were just spreading out toward 
the corners of the sky when we 
got to the park. The cops didn't 
even bother to park their helios. 
They vaulted out and left them 

blocking the streets. In less 
than half a minute, two hundred 
were beating through the park in 
a long line, driving everyone out. 
The rest were forming the skele- 
ton of the cordon. 

It took an hour to make sure 
the park was clear. Somehow, 
if you tell a hundred citizens to 
do something, there will always 
be twenty who’ll fight you — not 
because they really object to do- 
ing what they’re told, but just 
out of principle or curiosity or 

The all-clear came at six 
o’clock, and it was just in time 
because it was pitch dark. The 
controller, the C-S and myself 
stood before the high iron gates 
that open onto the path leading 
into the rock gardens. Where 
we stood we could see the jet 
masses of foliage standing crisp 
and still in the chill night. To 
either side of us stretched the 
long, wavering lines of police 
glow lamps. We could see the 
ring of bright dots drawn around 
the entire north end of the park 
like a necklace of glowing pearls. 

The silence and the chill wait- 
ing was agonizing. Suddenly I 
said : "Excuse me, sir, but did 
you tell the police captain to 
O. K. the reporters?” 

The C-S said' ”1 did, Car- 
michael — ’’ and that was all. It 
wasn’t so good because I’d hoped 
we'd have a little talk to ease the 

Again there was nothing but 
the cold night and the waiting. 
The stars overhead were like bits 
of radium and so beautiful you 
wished they were candy so you 
could eat them. I tried to im- 
agine them slowly blotted out, 
and I couldn’t. It's impossible to 
visualize the destruction of any 
lovely thing Ther. I tried count- 
ing the police lamps around the 
park. I gave that up before I 
reached twenty. 

At last I said: "Couldn't we 
go in and walk around a bit, sir?” 

The C-S said: “I don’t see 

why not — ” 

So we started through the 
gate, but we hadn’t walked three 





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steps into the park when there 
was a shout behind us and the 
sharp sounds of running feet. 

But it was only old Yarr run- 
ning up to us with a couple of 
cops following him. Yarr looked 
like a banshee with his coat fly- 
ing and an enormous muffler 
streaming from his neck. He 
dressed real old-fashioned. He 
was all out of breath and just 
gasped while the C-S told the 
cops it was all right. 

Yarr panted: “I . . . I — " 

“Don't worry, Dr. Yarr, every- 
thing is safe so far.” 

Yarr took an enormous breath, 
held it for a moment and then 
let it out with a woosh. In natu- 
ral tones he said : “I wanted to 
ask you if you’d hold on to the 
couple. I’d like to examine them 
for a check on the Prognosti- 

Gently, the C-S explained: 
“We're not trying to catch them. 
Dr. Yarr. We don’t know who 
they are and we may never know. 
All we want to do is to prevent 
this conversation.” 

So we forgot about taking a 
walk through the gardens and 
there was more cold and more 
silence and more waiting. I 
clasped my hands together and 
I was so chilled and nervous it 
felt like I had ice water between 
the palms. A quick streak of 
red slanted up through the sky, 
the rocket discharges of the 
Lunar Transport, and ten sec- 
onds later I heard the wham of 
the take-off echoing from Gov- 
ernor’s Island and the follow-up 
drone. Only that drone kept on 
sounding long after it should 
have died away and it was too 
thin — too small — 

I looked up, startled, and there 
was a helio making lazy circles 
over the center of the rock gar- 
dens. Its silhouette showed 
clearly against the stars and I 
could see the bright squares of 
its cabin windows. Suddenly I 
realized there was a stretch of 
lawn in the center of the gar- 
dens where a helio could land — 
where a couple could get out to 

stretch their legs and take an 
evening stroll. 

I didn’t want to act scared, so 
I just said: “I think we’d bet- 
ter go inside and get that helio 
out of there.” 

So we entered the gate and 
walked briskly toward the gar- 
dens, the two cops right at our 
heels. I managed to keep on 
walking for about ten steps and 
then I lost all control. I broke 
into a run and the others ran 
right behind me — the controller, 
the C-S, Yarr and the cops. We 
went pelting down the gravel 
path, circled a dry fountain and 
climbed a flight of steps three at 
a clip. 

The helio was just landing 
when I got to the edge of the 
lawn. I yelled: "Keep off! Get 
out of here!” and started toward 
them across the frozen turf. My 
feet pounded, but not much 
louder than my heart. I guess 
the whole six of us must have 
sounded like a herd of buffalo. 
I was still fifty yards off when 
dark figures started climbing out 
of the cabin. I yelled : “Didn’t 
you hear me? Get out of this 

And then the Post called: 
“That you, Carmichael? What 
goes on?” 

Sure — it was the press. 

So I stopped running and the 
others stopped and I turned to 
the C-S and said: “Sorry about 
the false alarm, sir. What shall 
I do with the reporters — have 
them fly out or can they stay? 
They think this is a crime hunt.” 

Groating was a little short of 
breath. He said: “Let them 

stay, Carmichael, they can help 
us look for Dr. Yarr. He seems 
to have lost himself somewhere 
in the woods.” 

I said: "Yes, sir," and walked 
up to the helio. 

The cabin door was open and 
warm amber light spilled out into 
the blackness. All the boys were 
out by this time, getting into 
their coveralls and stamping 
around and making the usual 
newspaper chatter. As I came 
up, the Post said: “We brung 



your opposition along, Car- 
michael — Hogan of the Trib.” 

The News said: “Now’s as 

good a time as any for the 
wrasslin’ match, eh? You been 
in training, Carmichael?” His 
voice had a nasty snigger to it 
and I thought: “Oh-ho, this 

Hogan probably scales two 
twenty and he’ll mop me up, but 
very good — to the great satisfac- 
tion, no doubt, of my confrere 
from the News.” 

Only when they shoved Hogan 
forward, he wasn’t so big, so I 
thought: “At a time like this — 
let’s get it over with fast.” I 
took a little sprint through the 
dark and grabbed Hogan around 
the chest and dumped him to the 

I said : “O. K., opposition, 

that’s — ” 

Suddenly I realized this 
Hogan’d been soft — soft but firm, 
if you get me. I looked down at 
her, full of astonishment and she 
looked up at me, full of indigna- 
tion, and the rest of the crowd 
roared with laughter. 

I said: “I'll be a pie-eyed 

emu I" 

And then, my friends, six 
dozen catastrophes and cata- 
clysms and volcanoes and hurri- 
canes and everything else hit me. 
The C-S began shouting and then 
the controller and after a mo- 
ment, the cops. Only by that 
time the four of them were on 
top of me and all over me, so to 
speak. Little Yarr came tearing 
up, screaming at Groating and 
Groating yelled back and Yarr 
tried to bash my head in with 
his little fists. 

They yanked me to my feet 
and marched me off while the 
reporters and this Halley Hogan 
girl stared. I can’t tell you much 
about what happened after that 
-the debating and the discuss- 
ing and the interminable sound 
and fury, because most of the 
time I was busy being locked 
up. All I can tell you is that I 
was it. Me. I. I was the one 

man we were trying to stop. I — 
innocent me. I was X, the mad 
scientist and Y, the ruthless dic- 
tator and Z, the alien planet — all 
rolled into one. I was the one 
guy the Earth was looking to 

Sure — because you see if you 
twist “I’ll be a pie-eyed emu” 
enough, you get Fitz John’s equa- 

ll0n i =(b/a) 77 i ./n . . 

I don't know how my future 
son is going to figure I was talk- 
ing mathematics. I guess it’ll 
just be another one of those inci- 
dents that turn into legend and 
get pretty well changed in the 
process. I mean the way an in- 
fant will say “goo” and by the 
time his pop gets finished telling 
about it it’s become the Pream- 
ble to the Credo. 


No, I’m not married — yet. In 
fact, that’s why I’m stationed up 
here editing a two-sheet weekly 
on this God-forsaken asteroid. 
Old Groating, he calls it protec- 
tive promotion. Well, sure, it’s 
a better job than reporting. The 
C-S said they wouldn’t have 
broken up an existing marriage, 
but he was going to keep us 
apart until they can work some- 
thing out on the Prognosticator. 

No — I never saw her again 
after that time I dumped her on 
the turf, but, boys, I sure want 
to. I only got a quick look, but 
she reminded me of that Barbara 
Leeds girl, six hundred years 
from now. That lovely kind 
with shingled hair and a clean- 
cut face that looks fresh and 
wind-washed — 

I keep thinking about her and 
I keep thinking how easy it 
would be to stow out of here on 
an Earth-bound freighter — 
change my name — get a different 
kind of job. To hell with Groat- 
ing and to hell with Stability and 
to hell with a thousand years 
from now. I’ve got to see her 
again — soon. 

I keep thinking how I’ve got 
to see her again. 



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